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  • Writer's pictureCoach Elizabeth Brink

Healthy Boundaries

I am learning to reframe my understanding of "healthy" thanks to a group program I'm in and work with my therapist on boundaries.

Healthy living can be very challenging for ADHD folks. We are often exhausted from life responsibilities, forget our goals, get bored, and sometimes struggle to calm our nerves so we can manage our impulses.

The standards for labeling a choice "healthy" are often rooted in ableist, sexist, and racist ideologies.

We've been told that restriction is the way to living a beautiful life. We will be stress-free, thin, fresh-faced, and rich when we can finally wrangle our bad choices with thoughts, food, relationships, and movement.

I'm not saying there can never be too much of a good thing. Have you ever let your mind spin about a decision only to wear yourself out without a clear direction to go? I am saying that knowing we are stuck, dissatisfied, hurt, full, or fed up can lead to a beautiful life designed by you.

Over the past few months, I've let myself go. I've showered less, eaten what I want, scrolled when I want, and invested in my self-partnership. I entered this season with many internal frowns and sighs, but it came together for me this week.

I'm full from working around the clock. My calendar is full, my brain is buzzing, and my heart misses my family. I didn't know what it felt like in my body to miss being with my kids until I let myself work 50+ hours a week. Now I know what my heart sounds like when it needs connection. I no longer have to wag my finger at myself when I'm online 'too much.' I can check in with myself and my family to decide what I need to do.

I'm not sure I could have heard it without giving myself space to go "all in" and then tuning in to sort out what I value.

Restriction can create disordered beliefs and choices that eventually cause us a greater need for more restriction or self-punishment.

Boundaries are not the same as restrictions. Have you heard the saying that ADHD folks need structure, but hate being told what to do? My new theory is that we hate restrictions because we inherently know they're not suited for us. Restrictions feel stifling.

We are restricting when we set a limit for ourselves based on what we've been told is the "right" or "healthy" way. When we notice a satisfied or over-full feeling in our body and mind, we discover a boundary.

Our bodies constantly communicate with us, and when we tune in, we may first hear scorn and desperation. Those toxic productivity and wellness lies run deep, and most of society reinforces them. Please don't abandon yourself. Keep listening. Keep trusting that the way to move forward will become clear.

Keep turning toward yourself with curiosity about the boundaries and restrictions you observe, are they leading to greater wisdom, peace, and love or fear and grind?

We need boundaries, so we don't burn out. Distinguishing them from unhelpful rules leads to less overwhelm and more peace.

What's a healthy boundary for you that helps you to live your most authentic life?

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