If you hadn’t heard, ESSENCE kicked off its second-ever Wellness House experience in Atlanta this past weekend, and it was an epic moment in time. More than 500 Black women gathered at the W Hotel in Midtown for a full day of healing, fitness and sisterhood. It was a day of self-care designed by and for Black women, and the powerful gems we took home will carry us throughout the year.
One standout theme from the day’s sessions was the concept of creating boundaries. In discussing topics about wellness, mental health and preventing burnout, our speakers preached the gospel about taking care of yourself by creating boundaries.
Here’s a rundown of what was shared.
Egypt Sherrod Said “No” To Toxic Friendships So She Could Thrive
During her Wellness House session titled “Limitless Living: How to Live Abundantly,” home space expert and TV host Egypt Sherrod opened up about a few personal bumps in the road that ultimately made her a stronger woman. One such hurdle was having to make the tough decision to end a friendship that was becoming toxic. Though it wasn’t an easy call, it helped Sherrod learn the importance of protecting your energy—even when it means having to say goodbye to someone you love. “We have to protect our core,” she tells the audience. “It doesn’t mean you can’t love them, but we have to love them from afar.”
In the process, she also learned the power of one magical word. “Its okay to say no,” she continues. “No is not a bad word. It’s a whole word that can have a period or an exclamation point at the end. For our own sanctity and sanity, we have to develop a good relationship with the word no.”
Dr. Ayanna Abrams Says Creating Boundaries Is Necessary For Survival
In her session “Preventing Burnout by Reclaiming Your Boundaries,” Abrams preached the gospel of establishing boundaries in the best interest of your self-care. The Atlanta-based psychologist gave out tons of lifesaving gems. One, in particular, sent a shock wave through the room: “Burnout is a betrayal of your boundaries.”
According to Abrams, people-pleasing is one of the common reasons people often have a hard time setting boundaries. “We have a hard time being clear about things because we’re much more concerned with being liked,” she told the audience.
She then went on to offer some simple proclamations we can all use to establish boundaries in our lives. “I don’t like that,” “I’m not interested in that” and “I’ve changed my mind,” are simple yet direct phrases she suggests saying (and often) to create a line of separation between us and the things that no longer serve us.
She went on to say that establishing boundaries is not a one-time thing. “You determine what you like and don’t like,” says Dr. Abrams. “When you feel safe and don’t feel safe. When you’re comfortable and uncomfortable. We give people that feedback. One of the hardest parts about setting boundaries is not just saying it, but continuing to say it. We historically fail at sustaining boundaries. For some people, we have to repeat ourselves—verbally, by e-mail, by body language, by smoke signal. [You have to say] ‘I still don’t like that.’ “Share :