beach chairs in sand

How to Set Boundaries for the Fall

If you’re like me you have set the summer boundaries and kept pretty on top of them! But, now it’s time to start setting them for the fall.

As the seasons change so does our boundaries

I remember as a kid, we couldn’t wait for summer vacation to begin. We got a few months of sweet freedom. No school, no responsibilities, just fun and relaxation. As adults, those few months of carefree freedom are no longer ours, and we’re lucky to get a few weeks of summer vacation time to spend how we please. But, that memory of how good it feels to let our daily routine loosen and embrace a more relaxed and easygoing way of life is always there!

I believe this is how as parents, we can relax the demands on ourselves and our kids during the summer months. We let our daily routines be looser and more relaxed. The pressure is off everyone, and it can feel like a big relief. Maybe we’re doing more activities together as a family, we are connected to the energy of Summer, and it feels expansive and light.

Man, brings you back right?

But then, when it’s time to say goodbye to Summer, it can be difficult for both parents and children to transition back to the more restrictive and scheduled back-to-school/back-to-work routine. Many of the boundaries we created in the Summer that gave us more balance fall apart, and we’re left feeling less than positive about heading into the Fall.

Change is inevitable *sigh*

This can be challenging and even more so for HSP’s (Highly Sensitive People) to transition to Fall. This is because we have a high degree of sensory awareness and attunement to the natural environment. We don’t want to speed up the pace of our lives, we want to stay at that slow pace we’ve become so comfortable with. And a fun fact, when nature begins to slow down (of course it’s time for us to speed up) in preparation for the Winter months, our internal rhythms want to match that slowing down of nature. Needless to say, it feels off-putting when we can’t. 

The good news though, fall is the perfect season to set new boundaries. According to Chinese medicine, this season is associated with the element of Metal, which rules organization, mental acuity, communication, and boundaries.

The resumption of extracurricular activities, commitments and hectic schedules can all become overwhelming without boundaries. This is a great time to revisit, create and protect your boundaries so that we can maintain more balance and peace in our lives. Setting healthy limits for yourself and others will set you up for a more balanced Fall season.

To learn more about how I do my end of summer self review check out this previous blog post here!

Here are 3 things that you can think about now so that you can be firmer in your boundaries for September. 

  1. What are my needs? How much time do I want to take each day for myself? 

Consider each day your needs may change depending on the energy stores you have. Some days may bring more commitments, but if you’re aware that the commitment takes a lot of your energy, you might need to set aside more time for yourself. If you have a partner, sit down together and discuss your schedules and communicate your needs. If you have young children who rely on you, and you don’t have a partner to support you, then perhaps you could reach out to extended family or friends who may be able to watch your kids during the time you have set aside for yourself. This becomes a boundary that you set for yourself of much-needed time and rest. 

2. Take more control of your schedule

You may not like to follow a strict schedule, and that’s okay. It might be counterintuitive, but schedules allow HSPs to be more balanced and less stressed. Sitting down about a week before the next month (in this case, September) to look at your calendar, you can record the engagements and responsibilities and then plan the activities that counterbalance those more draining activities. For example, you can think about what activities ease your overstimulation and help you to relax and incorporate them into your schedule. You will need to write them down so that you can stick to them too!

3. Learn to say “no” to things that you know you don’t have the time or energy for

Saying no can be difficult for many people, especially HSP’s, but to have more balance in your life, you have to establish boundaries with others by saying “no” more often. If you tend to say yes to every “ask” (be it from the school, boss, or friend), and you find that you are getting drained and resentful, then it’s time to harness the season of communication to learn to say “no” in different ways.

A soft and gentle way to say no can be something like this;

“Thank you for thinking of me, but right now is not a good time”.  

These suggestions are just a start. It helps to be able to keep a daily journal of your thoughts and check in with your body to see how you feel at the end of the day. Setting gentle boundaries by thinking of your needs, creating routines and learning to say no will help you transition into Fall with a greater sense of control of your life.

If you need more guidance on tapping into what your needs are check out my meditation here, Identifying your needs.

Wishing you some amazing, abundantly filled boundary setting!

Megan J Law

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