The Focus On You

*Motivational & Self-Care Blog*

Tag: boundaries (page 1 of 2)

Part 1: Coping Skills For Family Stress & Burnout

Regardless of the source of stress in your life, having strong coping skills are the solution.

It’s not just about KNOWING what coping skills are, but actively USING them. Make them as routine as brushing your teeth or charging your phone.

In this 2-part series we’ll highlight family stress and burnout and specific examples of coping skills.

1.Take good care of your body – This means avoiding fast food or junk food, getting adequate sleep and drinking healthy fluids. If you suffer from “emotional eating” this is crucial. If a family member is criticizing you or stressing you out, it may be natural to run to the cupboard or convenience store for chips or cookies. Don’t feed into the negativity (literally).

coping skills

If you notice that you eat more at night because of loneliness, family stress or crappy eating patterns all day, then change up your routine. Stay away from the kitchen, keep busy during these trigger times and keep healthier options close by (low sodium popcorn, nuts, apples). If you need more information on eating disorders here is the National Eating Disorders website.

If you suffer from burnout you may think that “rewarding” yourself with cupcakes or wine every night is your “coping method” for surviving another day. WRONG! Wine in moderation is ok, if you don’t have a history of addiction. (If alcohol consumption becomes too much of a routine, please call 211 to seek help in your area and/or refer to the SAMHSA website.)

What helps me keep cravings at bay is refusing to keep unhealthy treats at home. If I want a snack at night its either popcorn or nuts. I don’t buy Cheetos, Oreos, pastries or my other faves. A personal trainer once told me that exercise isn’t the only key to staying in shape. Everything we put in our mouth determines our energy for the next day. I once struggled through a tough workout and we pinned the root of that struggle to Doritos. Ouch. He made me pay for that one!

2.Set a boundary – If you’re unsure about the benefit of setting boundaries please refer to my previous post on this topic.

Regardless of whether your stress is due to family issues or burnout, sit down and decide what you’re going to STOP doing. Have you signed on to do too much? Although it may be too late to completely jump out of a project/task, think of how you can either delegate it or make the task easier. For future reference, if you’re upset that you’re the only one who signed on for this project, consider how many times you say YES. Be upset with yourself, not anyone else.

In short, if you’re resentful about what you signed on to do, you are not going to perform at 100%. If you’re muttering under your breath about it, either buck up and accept it or delegate it so you don’t become overwhelmed.

This coping skill is ESSENTIAL with the holidays around the corner. Instead of showing up to make OTHER people happy, show up for yourself. Click To Tweet

Boundaries give you breathing room.

Do you need breathing room? Then you need boundaries NOW!

3.Get Organized – This coping skill may help you feel more in control. There’s nothing more powerful than an accountability list -even if that list only has 1 thing on it.

Burned out? Write down one activity you can do for yourself this week that will take your mind off your stresses, even if for one hour. Seems silly? Wrong. You just made yourself a priority.

What’s an activity that can take your mind off everything? Sitting outside, watching one of your favorite movies without browsing through your phone, using Do Not Disturb on your phone while you bathe, nap, shower or cooking a favorite home cooked meal w/ your favorite music in the background. This may sound like a self-care list (there I go name dropping again) but being in control of your life helps minimize burnout.

If you have a to-do list that’s out of control rename this list your action list or your intention list. Personally, I enjoy making lists but even I got turned off by the word “to-do.” I call mine an action list and I always include feel good tasks in there.

coping skills

What’s a coping skill you can commit to this week?

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Building Confidence Using The Four Agreements


This post contains affiliate links.

When people ask me which book has been helpful in my personal & professional life, I immediately recommend The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I have recommended it to my therapeutic clients who were battling addiction,  depression, anxiety , re-entry from prison and self-improvement in general.

Instead of rattling off The Four Agreements, which could be re-written into a Pinterest graphic, I am deciding to take a different approach in reviewing this book.

Let’s look at how the lessons in this book can increase your confidence!

The Four Agreements:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions
  4. Always Do Your Best

I won’t go into detail about each of these agreements because I truly want you to read this book. Ruiz beautifully, and simply, breaks down these basic tenets in a manner you can easily relate with.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

With these four words Ruiz describes the effects of toxic people in our lives. These “haters” use poison to weaken us. This poison will be in the form of trolling, bullying, being judgmental or nitpicking. He explains that when a hater spews poison we have a duty to decide whether to accept it or not. If we accept and internalize their poison (i.e. “You’re ugly) then we have carried that poison with us.

In building self-confidence I believe we need to operate with a shield around us. It’s similar to planting a garden. People place a border or wire around the garden to protect their budding seeds. When you don’t take things personally, your borders work. Your boundaries are consistent. It’s what Jay-Z talks about when he says “brush that dirt off your shoulders.”


According to Ruiz, “Immunity to poison in the middle of hell is the gift of this agreement.” Click To Tweet


This agreement is like gold to me. I examine people much clearer now because of what this agreement taught me. When we realize that the haters in our life are really just acting off their own garbage, we’re liberated. I can clearly see that I need to keep my distance from them. They got their own junk to work on.

You know someone like this, don’t you??

The agreement that states “always do your best” is more than a simple pat on the back.

Ruiz states that “inaction is the way that we deny life.” Every action has a purpose.

Every action where you “focus on yourself” is self-care and is part of doing your best. This relates with mindfulness and building self-confidence.

I have chronic pain, in the form of fibromyalgia. Every day I have to ration out my energy based on how crappy I feel when I wake up. This explains why I’m not a morning person. Haha. If my pain or weakness is at a level 7/10 I have to be realistic about what “doing my best” will be. If I agree with myself that I can only go to work and put away the dishes then that’s about it.

That’s my best for the day.

Honestly, I still beat myself up when I’m limited during fibromyalgia flares. But imagine how my confidence would tank if I set myself up for disappointment by adding 4 more things to this list?

When my action list (or to-do list) is realistic and based off “doing my best”, I feel more relaxed, self-assured and less stressed at the end of my day. Although most of us have lists WAY longer than this, I have frequently wrote about trimming that list down.

Ask for help. Cut off some auto-pilot activities that you dread.

How can you do your best when you hate half the junk on your schedule?

In this book he shares how he has fallen in his life and used these agreements to pick himself up again.

“So if you fall, do not judge. No, be tough with yourself. Stand up and make the agreement again.”

Has your confidence fallen because of setbacks or failures? Your self-talk is what either makes you or breaks you during this time. You could be your harshest inner critic or your biggest fan. You choose.

When I first picked up this book I didn’t expect to be mind blown. I didn’t expect to read something that spoke to me in such a clear fashion.

If you are in the process of re-planting your seeds of confidence, I think your nourishment can be found in these agreements!!

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