Beautiful boundaries – how an energy MOT can help maintain them
Setting healthy boundaries and living a balanced life is becoming increasingly challenging. Demands on our time and attention are everywhere. Non-stop. Every day. So how do you set and keep healthy boundaries so you can be the best version of you every day? Simple. Conduct a seasonal energy MOT.
WHY conduct an energy MOT?
There’s a lot of talk about stress out there. In Denmark alone the WHO estimate that 430,000 Danes (approximately 12% of the population) suffer from serious stress every day.
In the UK, a stress survey has found that 74% of adults have at some point felt so stressed they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope in 2018.
The WHO are estimating that stress and depression will be key illnesses in 2020. These results and estimates are scary.
WHAT is an energy MOT?
Just as you schedule your car for an annual MOT, you need to do an MOT on where you spend your energy. It allows you to identify what gives you energy and what drains you. It’s an opportunity to review, take stock and do an energy detox on your life. Regularly.
HOW to conduct an energy MOT
Divide a piece of paper into four (see photo below). The left-hand column is for the current status. Consider all aspects of your life or choose one area at a time to focus on (e.g. work, home life) and ask the following questions:
Current energy givers
- What activities give you energy?
- Who gives you energy?
- What situations leave you filled with energy?
Include your ‘must haves’ in this section. For example:
- Eight hours sleep
- Fresh air every day
- One social engagement a week
Current energy zappers
- What activities deplete your energy?
- Who drains your energy?
- Which situations leave you with less energy?
Identify future actions
Review what you have written. Now it’s time to focus on the future and identify actions in the right-hand column. For each section, ask yourself:
- What do you need to remove?
- What do you need to do less of?
- What do you need to keep doing to maintain good energy levels?
- What do you need to do more of to maintain your energy?
Based on your answers to the questions above, include specific actions and add them in the right-hand column. Be realistic with your action list. Keep a note on how you are feeling at the end of each week for the next month. What has worked or not worked for you?
WHEN to conduct an energy MOT
Conduct an energy MOT in line with the seasonal changes. We have different energy levels at different times of the year. Work with nature as opposed to against it.
The examples below show some typical boundary challenges experienced by some of my clients. The solutions lead to more energy.
A client arrives consistently late for their appointment.
Do not give them extra time (which feeds into your me time and makes your day longer). Communicate verbally and in writing in your terms and conditions that if a client is late, the time will be shortened accordingly.
Healthy boundaries. More time, less rushing. More energy.
You work for an employer you no longer respect. You are waiting and hoping for redundancy.
Remind yourself life is short. Why stay in your comfort zone and prostitute your soul when you have dreams and goals waiting to pursue / discover? Invest in yourself. Research your options. Work with a professional mentor / coach to explore options for change. Is cash flow an issue? Explore some of the numerous free online coaching courses for inspiration to help you find your passion and purpose.
Increased motivation and joie de vivre. An increased feeling that you are in control of your life. More energy.
You eat on the go or skip meals all together – because you are too busy.
Schedule time to eat (and digest) in your calendar. For breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make it a social time and eat with others. Your body and mind will thank you for it. Today and in the long run.
More productivity. Greater all-round health. More energy.
Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash.