Setting Boundaries: Why Your Personal Ground Rules Matter and How to Make Them

If you’ve ever attended a professional training course, you’ll know the first thing the teacher usually does is set the ground rules for the day.

These almost always include respecting each other’s opinion, and switching off your mobile ‘phone.

But how often do you set ground rules in your everyday life?

Ground rules can be a set of personal boundaries which make clear:

  • what’s acceptable – and unacceptable to you
  • the things you’re prepared to tolerate from other people, and
  • the standards you set for yourself.

The problem is we often set standards higher for ourselves than we do for other people. And we often really relax the rules for those closest to us.

The benefits of setting ground rules are plenty, but most importantly they can let people know where they stand, whilst protecting your mental and physical wellbeing. If people think you have no boundaries, they may be quick to take advantage.

So, how do you set ground rules?

The first thing to decide is where your lines are drawn. What is okay – and not okay – to you? What will you accept, what is unacceptable? What matters, and what needs to change? What do you want more – or less of – in your life? How can you set a reasonable standard for yourself and others, that makes it clear what is healthy and what’s not?

It might be something practical, for example:

• you might not want family and friends to call/text after 9pm or before 8am unless it’s urgent. That way you’re assured of a night without being disturbed.

Or it might be something that can enhance your wellbeing, for example:

• you might want less negativity in your life, and instead would like to be surrounded by people who bring out the best in you.

Some other types of boundaries could be:

Take some time to think about your ground rules and whether or not they’re working for you. Then think about what boundaries you need.

The next thing is how you communicate them.

You might have already decided that cheating in a relationship is not okay, but your idea of what unfaithful looks like might be different to your partner’s. Communication of boundaries is therefore key to them working successfully, without creating conflict.

Once you know what your boundaries are, see if you can find a way to explain this to someone, calmly making your point. Practice it with a friend (or professional) until you feel you can get your point across in a healthy and positive way.

Setting your ground rules and saying no to someone can be hard. It can make us feel guilty, especially if we’ve always given in or let them have their way before. But remember you have a right to put your health first, to be heard, and a right to be safe. (If you feel unsafe in a relationship, organisations like Refuge can help).

You also have a right to say no, without explaining yourself. You can always say “thank you” then follow up with phrases like:

• “That doesn’t work for me”

• “It’s kind of you to offer, but not today”

• “I appreciate you asking. Perhaps another time?”

Ground rules are there for everyone’s benefit. If people know where they stand they’re less likely to push the boundaries. So just as you would on a training course, when you need a helpful conversation with someone, why not start by promising to respect each other’s opinions, and switching your ‘phones off whilst you talk?

Setting personal boundaries is a way of caring for yourself, so that you can be there for others when they need you. It’s not selfish to create your ground rules, it’s essential.

You might also like:

Monday Mojo – feel-good motivation for the week ahead.

©️ Delphi Ellis 2018

Seasonal Self-Care – taking care of yourself at Christmas (and beyond)

At this time of year, self-care and setting healthy boundaries with yourself, family and friends are important. Here are some ideas of how to take care of yourself this Christmas (and beyond):

• Create positive space as much as possible, keep your mental health and wellbeing in mind. Take walks in nature, or just get some fresh air standing by the back door. Do what feels manageable, without feeling overwhelmed.

• Plan things for yourself that help bring you a little sparkle. Self-Care is in the little things: planning your favourite meal. Changing your bedding. Putting fresh towels out. It all counts.

• Be gentle with the things you say to yourself.

• Make sure you don’t run out of your prescribed medication. Make any calls needed to your healthcare providers, so that you know their opening hours and treatment arrangements over the Bank Holidays

• Have a list of numbers of people you can call if you’re struggling – Samaritans are on 116 123, 24/7

• Know your ‘walk-away points’ e.g. decide how you’ll know when it’s time to leave. Think about your resilience and how healthy (or unhealthy) it is to stay in situations that feel uncomfortable. Know your early warning signs of anxiety, so you can take positive action when needed.

• Get comfortable saying ‘no’, and not explaining yourself. You can say things like “Thank you, that doesn’t work for me”.

• Practice a form of relaxation before going into crowded, busy or noisy places. Try focusing on your breathing and allowing the breath to relax your body. Notice the coolness of breath as you breathe in, and the warmness of breath as you breathe out.

• Remember, Christmas doesn’t have to be perfect. Good enough is enough.

If you know someone who is struggling, don’t wait for them to come to you. Reach out, ask them how they are. Then ask again. Drop them a text message, or give them a call to show you care. Be in your mate’s corner.

For Monday Mojo, feel good motivation for the week ahead straight to your inbox, click here

You might also like:

The Self-Care Toolkit

©️ Delphi Ellis 2018

Monday Mojo – Challenge the Mirror

What’s your relationship like with your mirror?

I ask, because a lot of people don’t have a good relationship with theirs.

You might spend as little time as possible in front of it, because to look in the mirror can feel like vanity.  But it also might be because we don’t like the voice inside it; the one that seems to echo all the things we don’t like about ourselves.

When we look in the mirror, we can see things we think are wrong.  Instead of looking at our reflection and saying things like “I’m doing my best”, “I’m a good person at heart” or just “my hair looks nice today” we’ll find the flaws almost immediately.

In the video I’ve included below, Kelly is a burns survivor. From a young age she thought the mirror was telling her all the reasons she’d never have the life she wanted to live.

But the mirror was wrong. Kelly went on to live a happy and fulfilling life, once she realised the voice in the mirror wasn’t someone else’s – it was hers. When she started being kind to herself, her view of the world changed.

This week, set the intention to Challenge the Mirror. Create words or phrases to use when you see your reflection, that nourish and empower you. Take a little longer to look at the face in front of you, to see who you really are, and view your face as a map of where your heart has been. And most of all, remember to be kind to yourself with everything you say.

For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox, click here

©️ Delphi Ellis 2018

Monday Mojo – Know Your Weather

What weather describes you right now? 

You might be feeling like:
a ray of sunshine
bit grey and patchy
or even cloudy with a chance of meatballs.

Whatever you feel in this moment is valid, and it matters.

Have you noticed though, that British people LOVE talking about the weather?  So much so I genuinely use this (and other analogies) in my therapeutic work. When someone is finding it hard to articulate how they’re feeling, they can sometimes explain it in different terms that make sense to them. For someone who loves music, I might ask them what instrument they are today. If they’re artistic, I might encourage them to think about a colour which best describes their mood. We also know that Small Talk Saves Lives.

I’m telling you this, because these types of references can help us understand ourselves better, what’s really going on with our feelings, and enables us to communicate them better with others. (It also has a lot of potential for children).

The positive message is also that weather changes. Just because you might be feeling gloomy right now, doesn’t mean it won’t be all blue skies tomorrow.  Remember that sunshine always follows the rain, and together they make beautiful rainbows. Whatever the outlook, take of yourself. This is your permission slip to practise self-care too.

This week, set the intention to Know Your Weather.  Get in touch with how you’re feeling over the next few days, and (if it’s difficult to describe) find an analogy that works for you.  Take the temperature of your feelings: is the pressure high or low? Then plan how you will take care of yourself, until whatever is in the atmosphere changes.

For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox, click here

©️ Delphi Ellis 2018

Quiet Club – monthly meditation groups in MK and Biggleswade

Quiet Club is a monthly meditation group for like-minded people to come together in quiet contemplation and practise mindfulness. It’s open to men and women, aged 18+ and running in Milton Keynes and Biggleswade from January 2019. No previous experience necessary.

Quiet Club – Introduction to Mindfulness event on Saturday 26th January 2018, 10am to 12pm in Biggleswade – just £20 per person. Register here

*PLUS* – guests who attend on 26th January will receive:

• A complimentary voucher containing a discount code for all future *evening* Quiet Clubs, worth up to £50

• Complimentary on-line access to the Mindfulness starter kit, containing three guided meditations and activity sheets (worth £10) for up to 28 days

• A free Quiet Club membership badge

To sign up for updates about Quiet Club in MK click here.

Next Quiet Club, MK – Wednesday 16th January 2018, 6.30pm MK. Full list of dates

Next Quiet Club, Biggleswade – Saturday 26th January 2018, 10am to 12pm. Full list of dates

Dates subject to change.

©️ Delphi Ellis 2018

Monday Mojo – Take it Slow

Have you felt like you’ve been rushing around lately?

It’s usually about now things feel a bit, well… hectic. Depending on what sort of year you’ve had, you might feel a sense of urgency to get 2018 firmly out of the way, and start the new year as quickly as possible. And do you know what? That’s okay. 

But it’s also around now that people in the coaching world start with the New Year, New You malarkey.  You probably know that I don’t buy into that anymore. And there’s a reason for that. 

You see, you’ve always been you.  Yes, there may be things you’ve learned from the past 12 months, opportunities you’ve seized and chapters you’ve turned and that’s genuinely wonderful – we’ll be exploring all of that at the Serenity ‘Retreat’ in December (deets below).  But the glorious, gentle, sparkly you has always been there waiting patiently to come out.  And you’re emerging right on time. 

This week set the intention to Take It Slow. Make the most of moments as they present themselves to experience the here and now, over the next few days. Take a deep breath where you are right now and see / hear life as it is.  Avoid pushing or rushing. Watch the world go by. And just let it all flow. 

For Monday Mojo straight to your Inbox click here

© Copyright Delphi Ellis 2019

Mindfulness in Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire

Mindfulness is often described as being in the moment.  But for many people life is hectic, and it leaves little time for quiet contemplation. It might even seem like a bit of a waste of time.

Science is starting to explain what eastern traditions have known for hundreds if not thousands of years. There are several benefits for keeping your awareness in the here and now.

What are the benefits?

Modern research explains why so many people are choosing mindfulness as part of their wellbeing toolkit.

The benefits include:

  • Effective relaxation
  • Reducing stress and improving mental health
  • Managing pain
  • Improving the immune system
  • Better sleep and reducing insomnia
  • Enhanced concentration
  • Lowering blood pressure and much more
  • I offer 8 week classes, one day workshops and 1-1 sessions in Milton Keynes and some parts of Bedfordshire. Private and corporate clients welcome. To find out more send your enquiry here.
  • What people say about my classes:
  • You might also like: Quiet Club – a monthly meditation group for men and women aged 18+, or Serenity – rest and relaxation for busy women both currently in Milton Keynes
  • Click on the image below to find out more about Quiet Club in Milton Keynes
  • I also have a dedicated website to the subject of Mindfulness called Kindfully – visit here
  • © Delphi Ellis 2018
  • Monday Mojo – Recharge Yourself

    How are your energy levels today?

    Around this time of year, a lot of people find their batteries are running low. It usually means:
    You’re smiling through the tears.
    Gritting your teeth.
    And the cup of care is nearly empty.

    Things that normally wouldn’t bother you, might be really getting up your nose. You’re losing patience with people who don’t read their emails or text messages properly.  And if you have to repeat yourself one more time because people just don’t listen anymore, it’s okay.

    When we’re tired, people can seem irritating. Queues seem longer.  And common sense feels like a think of the past.  And it’s on the days when we recognise that we’re weary, that it’s more important than ever to rest and replenish.

    This week, set the intention to Recharge Yourself. Put some “you-time” in the diary, and make a plan to care for your mind and body.  Cook your favourite meal. Listen to your favourite songs. Get a massage. Whatever you do, make it your time to refresh yourself from the inside out.

    For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

    ©️ Delphi Ellis

    Monday Mojo – Lift Your Life

    What lifts you?

    I posted on my Facebook page recently that I believe music is like time travel. A single song can transport you to a moment in your past, a good memory that brings back feelings of joy.  For some people what lifts them is doing a hobby they love, or spending time with people they care about.

    Sometimes, though, there are those who let us down, and – being honest – it’s usually the people who really shouldn’t.  The ones we thought we could trust. The ones who are meant to be dependable. The ones that are meant to ‘get’ us.  It’s these people we need to recognise, so we know the impact they have. And equally to know the ones who bring out the best in us.  By keeping our circle positive, and knowing who we can rely on, we can allow ourselves to rise enough, to meet the life we want to live.

    This week, set the intention to Lift Your Life. Spend time in the company of people who lift your spirits, or enjoy activities which put a sparkle in your eye. Join a group that shares like-minded views, listen to your go-to power songs, or just read a book that stirs a bit of fire in your belly.

    For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

    ©️ Delphi Ellis 2018

    Monday Mojo – Dress for the Party

    Do you remember “Sunday Best”?

    Those clothes we kept just for Sunday School. A relative’s china that stayed in the cupboard for “special days”.  That bottle of bubbly in preparation for the day we get some good news.

    Many of of us are raised to keep things for when something important happens. But the thing is, something important happens for most of us every day. We wake up.

    We often approach the day with good intentions. But do we fully appreciate the fact that we bring something special to the world just by being in it?  That life is the special occasion.

    This week, set the intention to Dress for the Party. Grab your favourite dress, shoes or handbag and let it see the light of day.  Let your “Sunday best” reach its potential by showing your friends and colleagues there is something to celebrate –  being alive, in this amazing world of ours. Wear something fancy. Let your hair down.  And put on your dancing shoes.  

    For Monday Mojo straight to your inbox click here

    ©️ Delphi Ellis

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