Chapter 6: Caring for yourself
Setting limits and boundaries
My mom seemed worried about my getting stuck in my grief and wanted me to move past what had happened. I had to fight against that.
My husband kept suggesting we go out for dinner with friends. I finally had to tell him that I wasn’t ready but would let him know when I was. But I also let him know that I might need to back out, even at the last minute, and that I needed his understanding and patience about that.
An important component of caring for yourself is setting limits and boundaries. If you feel like saying “no” to something, such as an invitation or request, give yourself permission to do so. Although setting a limit or boundary is healthy, you may find it difficult and need to practise. You may need to work with your feelings of discomfort or guilt by giving yourself reminders like these:
- Be patient and take slow steps. This is not a time to be hard on yourself.
- Trust your own judgment or “inner voice” about what you do and don’t need to do.
- If you have experienced trauma, keep in mind that you are more vulnerable to further traumatization. It’s important to recognize situations where you might feel overwhelmed and take whatever steps you can to protect yourself or prevent this from happening.
- If some people in your life have made hurtful or insensitive comments, you may want to prepare some responses before you see them again; or you may decide to limit or stop your contact with them.