THIS | THAT: BOUNDARIES RESTORE OUR mental and metabolic health



Many of us make commitments in January to improve aspects of our lives, only to lose momentum between intention and implementation.  While our mindset and planning help this process, success begins with separating THIS from THAT. THIS represents US. Taking care of THIS ensures we’re able to care for or manage all of THAT! We’ve been encouraging patients to keep resolutions simple this January – just start doing one thing differently. To that end, they’ve been tasked with completing an exercise establishing the line (or boundary) between caring for THIS and managing THAT.

Defining and protecting our line between THIS…and all of THAT creates opportunity for self-care and restoration. While it’s not always apparent, the pillars of lifestyle medicine rest on a foundation of mental health. A foundation that’s only as strong and resilient as our wellbeing, that of our families, communities, and the nation as a whole. Anywhere economic insecurity and barriers to care are prevalent, we’ll likely see a foundation compromised by stress fractures; pillars toppled in haphazard disarray.

For recovery, there’s a mindset we can embrace, and espouse. To restore mental and metabolic health taking care of THIS has to matter. THIS is the bedrock that supports all of THAT. When discussing care of THIS, resistance is common and often coupled with remarks like “I don’t really have the time”. Rather than confronting defensiveness we work to help clients identify their priorities and responsibilities. When clients finish identifying the circle of THIS and then all of THAT, we have them separate THAT into the following categories:

  • HAS to be done
  • CAN be done
  • NICE to get done
  • NEEDS to be done by someone else.

Once “HAS to be done” is scheduled, clients are tasked with scheduling 20 minutes a day for activities that nurture THIS.  Initially the goal is to have clients just do one thing differently: enjoy 20 minutes for themselves! With practice, clients begin to anticipate and even crave those 20 minutes. They learn to ward off intrusive challenges to that time, even looking for ways to increase that time. This approach helps clients rebuild their foundation or mindset before we introduce or set about righting the pillars of LM. Arguably, the line between THIS and THAT shifts every year, and even with every decade, but with awareness, we choose where we hold the line.

Heather Hamilton PhD. Chair: ACLM Mental Health MIG

Founder, Team BreakThrough!

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