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.
Stuffed shells, but make them autumnal.
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.
Happy Sunday and happy Memorial Day, everyone! I spent a night of the long weekend in New York, so that I could have a lovely dinner with my soul sista JL, and now I’m back in DC, preparing for a mellow day tomorrow. Here are some of the scrumptious recipes that caught my eye this week, and the links that gave me food for thought. Dreena’s walnut pecan balls look fabulous–what a nice alternative to lentil or wheat balls! Susan’s beet and quinoa…
Happy Sunday. It has been a very hot, if beautiful and sunny weekend here in New York. I’ve gotten caught up on email and work, and now I’m back in the process of cooking, testing, and cooking some more. It’s not the most ideal time of the year to have the stove and/or the oven on, but the creative juices are flowing, and that’s what matters. Lots of interesting articles this week, as well as a few beautiful standout recipes from blogger friends. Recipes…
Happy Sunday! I hope you’ve all enjoyed nice weekends. I’ve been reveling in the autumnal weather; I’m so happy that my favorite season is here. To celebrate, here’s a mixture of delectable late summer and early fall food links, most of them of the breakfast variety. Because what’s better than a cozy breakfast on a cool morning? Nothing, I say. Warm with a bowl of creamy coconut millet porridge. This looks absolutely delightful. …and if you’re not quite ready for porridge, you can savor…
This week, I was really struck by a thread about rest, written by psychologist Nicola Jane Hobbs. Specifically, I loved the way that Hobbs delineates different forms of rest, many of which I hadn’t considered. Hobbs writes, Physical rest is sleep. Stretching, Nourishing food. Mindful movement. Mental rest is any kind of non-thinking activity. Baking. Painting. Gardening. Single Tasking. Emotional rest is crying. Journalling. Therapy. Healthy emotional expression. Sharing rather than suppressing. Social rest is hugs. Solitude. Intimacy. Community. Activism. Employee resource groups….