Knowing Your Boundaries

In the world we live in mental and emotional health, or “Self-Care,” has become a pop word. You hear it in media all the time, without clear definitions of what exactly self care is. Self care at the surface can be misconstrued as selfishness, which could not be further from the truth. Self care at its essential core is “the ability to set clear boundaries with yourself and others around you.” This definition of self care helps us better view the essential elements needed to care for ourselves. If we are truly to care for our mental and emotional health, we have to better understand what exhaustion and burnout look like for us. Research done in this field would suggest that during these “overloaded” times that productivity is at it lowest, so the question stands “Why do we overload?”

Boundaries, or I should say the lack of boundaries. We push ourselves through these tight deadlines or self imposed, impossible expectations, because we lack clear boundaries with ourselves and with others. Brene Brown says “Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.” As simplistic as this mantra may be, it carries such weight and meaning. If you can place clear boundaries with yourself and others, you can better tend to your mental and emotional health. Clear boundaries with others means speaking up, and asking for help when needed. Same goes for clear boundaries with yourself, ensure you can identify your boundaries and hold yourself accountable for not reaching beyond the boundaries. I challenge you to set one simple boundary for yourself.

Example I recently found myself replying to a work email during a dinner with one of my friends, who I had not seen in months, when they asked me “Why are you working right now?” I did not have an answer, I honestly had felt compelled to answer this email, that if I left it unanswered that I somehow was letting the business down. That is when I realized, in order for me to be truly present, at any moment in my life (work or play), I need to set a boundary with myself of when and when not to (fill in the blank).

I think all of us can identify a moment in our lives where we were not allowing ourselves to be truly present in a moment because of the compulsion to (fill in the blank). I challenged myself to separate my work and personal life telling myself “to be present in the moment.” This is a challenge I fail at constantly, but with every failure I learn how to be more clear with myself (something I have struggled with my whole life).

At RippnerTennis, I have had the opportunity to work with amazing players and team members. Each of these people have taught me so much about self-care and the downside to perfectionism. They have taught me how tennis is not just a sport, but a vehicle to teach self-care. We have established a mantra that we share within our team that I want to share with you, “Rest. PLAY. Repeat.” A concise reminder of the importance of Play in our self-care rituals.

by Iosua Malaki | Director of Operations

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