We all know people who might ask for too much in a relationship. They can withdraw too much energy from us and take advantage of us. So, there will be times in your life when you have to draw strict boundaries. This is a form of self-care. Even if it is perceived as a cold-hearted act, taking time to detach from negative inputs like this is an important way to protect your mental wellness.
Why Self-Care Is Important
Self-care includes essential self-maintenance, so it's a vital practice for your life. This includes taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical wellness by putting yourself first when possible. If you have a busy schedule, you know how easy it is to habitually overlook self-care, or to think of it as a special treat, even though it should be nonnegotiable.
Self-care is an imperative part of caring for yourself. Taking time out to care for yourself can remind you (and others) that you and your needs are important. If we don't take care of ourselves, we are less able to take care of the things that we need to do, have fulfilling relationships, and enjoy our lives. Everyone has a long list of responsibilities, and self-care can feel selfish or unnecessary. Part of self-care includes drawing strong boundaries around your personal wellbeing, so you are sure to care for yourself first.
How to Exercise Self-Care
Self-care benefits you in many different ways. When we take care of ourselves, both mentally and physically, we are more resilient and better able to handle difficult things that come our way. The calming effects of self-care can even trigger our relaxation response, which is the counterpart to the flight-or-flight response. This relaxation response is particularly important because it can prevent chronic stress.
It might sound harsh, but learning how to be what some might consider "cold-hearted" can be an important part of your self-care. Learning how to say "no," how to put boundaries in place, and how to put yourself first are all important parts being the best version of yourself.
Choosing to focus on caring for yourself is not selfish. Life is short, and it's important to make the most of the time that you have, so you can tune in to your passions, goals, and dreams. By learning how to be cold-hearted, you can begin to shape your life in the ways that are best for you. You will also be able to interact with others in a healthier way when you are true to yourself. Constantly catering to others before attending to your own needs can create feelings of resentment or general negativity that are damaging to relationships. Being seemingly cold-hearted with friends and loved ones at certain times can lead to warmer moments when you’re ready to give them your time and energy.
Drawing Boundaries With Loved Ones
Loved ones may unintentionally erode our mental health or emotional wellbeing by asking too much of us or asking us to put them first. Even if it's not intentional, they can use intimacy against us. Negativity can be contagious, and sometimes it's important to separate from negative people for that very reason. Breaking away or distancing yourself from family or friends may not be what you want, but it may be necessary in a season of self-care. Just because you've known someone for years doesn't mean they have a healthy influence on your life. Saying "no" or creating boundaries with loved ones can be difficult, but sometimes it's essential.
How do you know if you need to create boundaries and start saying "no" to the people you love? Here are some questions you can ask yourself:
If you said "yes" to one or more of these questions, creating boundaries and saying "no" may be important for your wellbeing.
How to Be Cold-Hearted
Being "cold-hearted" can feel like a difficult thing to do, especially if you've never done it before. If you're hesitant to try it, think of being cold-hearted as being warm-hearted toward yourself. When you're cold-hearted, you think of yourself first, which isn't a bad or a selfish thing.
Being cold-hearted is choosing to say "no" to something in order to take care of yourself. Maybe you turn down a dinner invitation so you can relax after a stressful day at work. Maybe you like to get a massage, tend to your nails, or nourish your skin. Pampering yourself is always a great way to practice self-care. Saying "no" to people and events to take time for yourself is what self-care looks like in practice. Sometimes others perceive that as being cold-hearted, but if you don't put yourself first, who will? Choose to do things for yourself before you choose to take time for others—be warm-hearted toward yourself.
Many people fall into the familiar cycle of running themselves too thin until they reach burnout. Only then do they begin to take care of themselves. After a brief respite, things get busy again, and the cycle simply repeats itself. Making time for physical activity, quality time alone, and extracurricular activities outside of work is important. You need to find a balance between social time and alone time. In addition, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and making sure you get enough sleep are all essential parts of self-care.
How BetterHelp Can Support You
Maybe choosing to take time for yourself and engaging in self-care feels difficult, or maybe you're not sure where to start. Opening up and talking to someone can help. Once you have the tools to help you prioritize yourself, your body and your mind will thank you.
Working with a mental health professional can be a wonderful part of self-care, especially if you're struggling to set boundaries and be cold-hearted. Maybe you're unsure if a particular relationship is healthy or perhaps you're having a hard time saying "no" to other people, so you can make time for yourself. This is where a licensed counselor can support you.
Studies have shown that online platforms can be effective resources for providing therapy for those experiencing a wide variety of issues, including those related to a lack of self-care or relationship boundaries. According to one broad-based report on the effects of online therapy, researchers brought together the results of studies that examined a number of different online mental health interventions (92 in total). The study concluded that online therapy is a useful alternative to face-to-face therapy, which is in line with the bulk of current research that points to the value of online platforms in administering mental health services. Online therapy platforms can provide a number of resources that foster self-care, and help individuals maintain healthy boundaries in relationships. These can include interactive exercises, lessons, and counseling sessions, all of which will generally be guided by a licensed mental health professional.
As outlined above, online therapy can help you to create a more positive relationship with both yourself and others. Through BetterHelp,you can reach out to your therapist any time, day or night—no need to wait until your next. If, for example, you’re still having trouble saying “no” in a certain situation, just send a message to your counselor, and they will respond as soon as they can. And because there are thousands of mental health professionals to choose from at BetterHelp, you’ll have a better chance of matching with someone who knows how to help you be your authentic self. Read below for reviews of counselors who have helped people experiencing similar issues.
"Blaire has been amazing. She's super supportive, empathetic, and kind. She has helped me gain confidence in myself and learn that it is okay to enforce healthy boundaries in my relationships."
"Rachel has been a big help in getting me to set and stick to boundaries. Most of the people that I know seem to expect me to be available to them 24/7. Rachel is the only person who says that I have every right to say no and to take time for myself."
Be True to Yourself
Self-care is an important part of your wellness, and setting boundaries in relationships helps you take the time to practice self-care. If you need help putting yourself first, a counselor at BetterHelp can support you.