Boundaries seem to be a hot topic these days. They’re the subject of a lot of articles, at least once recently published book, and—at least in my experience of the algorithm—a ton of Instagram content.
This suggests that boundaries are a struggle for lots of folks, and I’m certainly one of them.
My past efforts to get better with boundaries have been focused on being vocal about it when I’m not comfortable with something.
I still have work to do there. In the last two weeks, however, my focus has shifted a bit.
Right now, my work with boundaries consists of one thing, and one thing only.
It’s a boundary that I’m trying to maintain with and for myself, which is to not do or commit to more than I’m capable of doing.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve touched on the theme in weekend reading, so apologies to anyone who’s heard it before. But there’s a very consistent and significant gap between what I think I can do/handle, versus what I actually can.
Time and time again, overcommitting gets me in trouble. It makes me burnt out and resentful. Sometimes it makes me run late for things, and if I don’t keep it in check, it ends up making me catch sick.
A couple years ago, I was making plans with a friend. “Here is my realistic timeline,” he said in reference to the day we were discussing.
I was impressed by the way he put this. It told me that he was thinking about that disjunction—one that I think we all stumble into—between our optimism about what’s possible versus the reality of what is.
I’ve been remembering his words lately. For me, this has looked like saying no to a couple social plans, which sounded fun but would just have been too much at the moment.
It has factored into my work life, too. Shortly after I moved, in part because of long summer days, I got into a habit of working till 8:30 or 9 most nights, as well as on many weekends. I’d wrap up, eat dinner late, crash, and have those same long hours on the following day.
It’s fine to do this once in a while, when one’s job demands it, but it’s not sustainable. So I’m trying to wrap up the work day closer to 6 or 7.
I’m trying to take more time for myself on weekends, too. This has meant skipping some weekend reading posts, so the patience of readers has been very appreciated.
I’m scheduling my nutrition clients a little farther apart, so that I can process each conversation fully, take detailed notes, and show up with a fresh lens for each person.
If it means that scheduling becomes a little tricky, that’s OK; my clients need me to be present and tuned in, not rushing from session to session.
In yoga, I’ve been taking it slowly and modifying a lot, to counteract my mental overwhelm. Sometimes vigorous practice feels really good when I’m anxious. It’s cathartic, a release.
And sometimes I need my practice to become very simple because life is otherwise busy or complex. That’s the case right now, and I’m grateful to have practiced long enough that I don’t worry or ask for permission when I need to slow down.
I wouldn’t call any of my efforts perfect, but I’m trying, and that’s what counts. I’m reminded that nobody else will protect my boundaries for me or make sure that I get taken care of.
That’s my job. An inside job. And it happens through adequate sleep, good nutrition, a healthy balance of social time and private time, work that’s demanding enough to give me a sense of purpose and meaning without burying me entirely.
It happens one “realistic timeline” at a time.
Happy Sunday, friends. Here are some recipes and reads.
These pecan pie energy balls look like such a great fall snack.
The cutest, most festive twice-baked honeynut squash.
I want to try using my air fryer tempeh nuggets in this quinoa salad!
Stuffed shells, but make them autumnal.
I know a lot of folks are focused on finding pie recipes as we head into the holidays, but I’m always thinking about vegan cake, and this black forest cake looks so good.
1. I probably won’t be cooking for Thanksgiving this year, but when I do, I too find joy in a spreadsheet.
2. Fascinating! A history of one of my favorite foods, the date.
3. A good read on the misguidedness of categorically labeling any food as “unhealthy.” The article focuses on how these judgments can turn into a form of denigrating foods that are an important part of culture and cultural expression.
More broadly, I think these judgments ignore context and patterns, which in the world of nutrition are everything. I always tell my clients that what matters a lot less than how often, how much, and with what else?
4. We’re still trying to figure out why Covid-19 hits some people so much harder than others. But DNA is giving us early clues.
5. Though it was published in 2019, I just read and loved Eric Kim’s essay on why he heads from NYC to Portland, Maine, in the winter.
Specifically, I love how Eric has made peace with the cyclical nature of depression and even found ways to soften into its rhythms. Finding a soothing routine for the tough times is best one can do.
I’ve found, as Eric has, that solo travel can help with perspective, and as my own sadness flares up lately, I’m thinking about places I might be able to go.
Portland is now on the list.
Wishing you all a week of softly-yet-strongly maintained boundaries, whatever that means to you. More recipes, soon.
On Friday, I was honored to be a part of a conversation titled “Hot Topics in Eating Disorder Treatment,” hosted by Castlewood Treatment Centers and Balanced Eating Disorder Treatment Center here in New York City. The workshop’s moderators were Tammy Beasley and Melainie Rogers, both registered dietitians who specialize in ED treatment. One of the topics under discussion was whether or not vegans can and should be treated in high-level, in-patient care. Tammy and Melainie invited me to share about my own recovery…
I saw a post by psychotherapist Helen Marie on Instagram this week that I loved. It’s titled “a little guide to glimmers.” Helen Marie writes, Glimmers are the opposite of triggers. She goes on to explain them this way: they are tiny moments of awe. they spark joy & evoke inner calm. they send cues of safety to our nervous system… our body responds with positive energy. they allow us to feel hope when lost… once we start embracing them it can become…
Happy Sunday, friends, and happy Easter and happy Passover to those of you who celebrated over the weekend. I had something to celebrate in the form of a visit from my best friend, Chloe, who came up from New Orleans for a couple of days. It was great to see her, and it even compelled me to take some time off yesterday, which felt very…healthy. And sane. Now I’m refreshed, ready for a new week, and enthralled by these recipes and reads. I’m…
Happy Sunday, friends. It’s been a busy week here at CR, with a new green recovery story, two giveaways (one to win two tubs of delicious, smooth tasting vegan pea protein from NuZest USA, the other to win a copy of the fabulous Candle Cafe holiday cookbook). Let’s pause for a moment to savor some weekend reading, shall we? First up, Rika’s vibrant and colorful Mediterranean harissa stew is so perfect for cold weather. Erin’s roasted parsnip and spinach salad with wild rice…
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I do agree with the ‘inside job’ nobody knows you as well as you know yourself.
Being realistic and setting boundaries,also vocalising those helps the people that love you too. It’s by no means selfish, sometimes these boundaries are needed just to function, it is hard at first but the physical and mental payoff is always justified.
Hope you find your balance Gena xox