With the start of the shiny, New Year comes a promise of resolutions.

Maybe they are the same as last year or a whole set of new ones. Whatever your resolve for this year, self-care should always be at the top of the list. It seems simple, but it always falls to the bottom of a never ending to-do list. This year I challenge everyone to put self-care where it belongs, at the top of the to-do list.
One of the most important ways to practice self-care is by forming healthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries are vital for a healthy life. We need them in every relationship whether it is with family, friends, neighbors or co-workers. Sometimes the hardest boundaries to set are those we set for ourselves.
The following are tips for setting healthy boundaries from “Where You End and I begin” by Anne Katherine.
1. When you identify the need to set a boundary, do it clearly, calmly, firmly, respectfully and in as few words as possible. Do not justify, get angry or apologize for the boundary you are setting. You are not responsible for the other person’s reaction to the boundary you are setting.
2. You are only responsible for communicating your boundary in a respectful manner. If it upset them, know it is their problem. Some people, especially those accustomed to controlling, abusing, or manipulating you, might test you. Plan on it, expect it, but remain firm. Remember, your behavior must match the boundaries you are setting. You cannot successfully establish a clear boundary if you send mixed messages by apologizing.
3. At first, you will probably feel selfish, guilty or embarrassed when you set a boundary. Do it anyway and remind yourself you have a right to self-care. Setting boundaries takes practice and determination. Don’t let anxiety, fear or guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself.
4. When you feel anger or resentment or find yourself whining or complaining, you probably need to set a boundary. Listen to yourself, determine what you need to do or say, then communicate assertively.
5. Learning to set healthy boundaries takes time. It is a process. Set them in your own time frame, not when someone else tells you.
6. Develop a support system of people who respect your right to set boundaries. Eliminate toxic persons from your life — those who want to manipulate, abuse and control you.
Everyone has the right to set boundaries in their life and be free from all forms of abuse whether it is physical, emotional, mental, verbal or sexual.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence, Crisis Services of North Alabama can help. Please contact us locally at (256)574-5826 or our 24 hour HELPline at (256)716-1000.

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