How to make boundaries & learn to say no (even to your boss)

Sometimes people pleasing tendencies come out in full-force, all at once. This is one of those times. I share a personal story of how I learnt to make strong boundaries and say no, so that you can too.

How to make boundaries & learn how to say no

It started at work when my boss sprung on me she’d decided she wanted me to be available to work online in the evening while I’m at home. After I’ve already left work.


At first when she was talking about all this I was just taking notes, trying not to give in to any knee-jerk reactions. (Even though I could very strongly sense my husband Jeff’s reactions as if he was pinching me).

It wasn’t until all this faff about whether we’d start tonight or not, that I began to think this wasn’t fair. And of course, I felt guilty in thinking that.

But it wasn’t in our contract. And I really didn’t want to bring work home.

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How my startling panic attack gave me a powerful breakthrough

During final year of University I was working four jobs, going to the gym at least four times a week, cycling around 8 miles to and from university everyday, oh and trying to get the highest grades possible. :/

Photo Credit: TheOdysseyOnline

I was running myself into the ground.

I’m not sure why I took on so much, maybe I felt the final year urge to do everything I thought I should have been doing the whole 3 years of my degree.

But whatever the reason it wasn’t good for me.

On top of all the stuff I was doing, I was also trying to figure out those big questions you feel pressured to know at 21.

Like: what you’ll do after graduation; who you want to be; and what the thing with that guy really means.

I wanted to be able to do everything.

I felt like I needed to prove I could do that. That I could manage all of these things and still get good grades. I wanted to do it all and do it smoothly.

And I did manage to graduate with a good grade and oomph up my cv with a load of experience from my jobs. Butttttt … I also had a breakdown. A pretty big one.

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Hashtag Habit #1: My new tactic to be in tune with my body

Remember when I told you about a new kind of blog post I was planning on doing? Called Hashtag Habit? No?

It was a long time ago because life kind of got in the way. But you should go read it again here because this post is allllll about my first Hashtag Habit.

And it’s about … food-logging.


I know what you’re thinking. Not the most riveting thing, but stick with me because I’m finding it’s a super useful one.

If you’ve read my intro post to Hashtag Habits, I’ve been feeling bogged down by all the stuff I want to do but haven’t made time for.

And like I said before in that post, we deserve to make time for things that will help us to show up in the world stronger, more confident and just plain happier.

Which is exactly what this new habit of food-logging is going to do … (hopefully).

I only just started food-logging again this week because we had a holiday and I might have eaten this …


… plus a few other insanely delicious treats.

But I didn’t decide to start food logging because of guilt about eating that dessert monstrosity. #definitelynotsugarfree

It actually came from having pretty bad, correction: horrendously painful stomach aches.

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Dealing With Body-Shaming

Last week I felt like a beached whale. It started when out of curiosity I wanted to weigh myself.

I know … my first mistake.

It was Wednesday and when I got to the gym I noticed they had a scale. So I asked if I could use it. They obliged of course. Just as I was about to step on they frantically pointed to my feet to tell me I needed to remove my shoes and socks.

I thought it was weird, but then I thought welllllll … I guess I could do without the extra weight. 😉

But it turned out this contraption wasn’t just a scale. It was some crazy machine which apparently could measure body fat, determine the age of your body, and know what you ate for dinner last Tuesday, all through electrical impulses … or something (shrug).

It printed out this chart full of figures and statistics. Even if it was in English I’d still have been overwhelmed.

There was one table though I could understand. It had pictures of body sizes and underneath each thumbnail was a space where the machine could tick to say which category you fell into.

I quickly scanned the chart, left to right. I couldn’t see a tick. It was blank underneath the “average” boxes i.e. where I assumed I’d be. I was confused.

Then I saw it. The machine had ticked a box further right than I had anticipated.

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The art of reframing: what does “your calling” mean anyway?

Today I had a mini melt-down. It was a sneaky one. You know, a melt-down that pounces on you and makes you feel all down and you had no idea it was coming?

Jeff and I were just strolling back to work along the river after our lunch, and some of those big unexpected feelings just blurted out.

I was saying things I didn’t even know I felt or had been thinking about. Things like “I don’t know if I can do this” and “I need to find my thing, my calling.”

I was feeling out of control. Like someone had plucked me out of my bubble and plopped me down into chaos; I was completely disorientated.

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Resting or wasting time? Making time for the life I want to lead

Recently I’ve been feeling like I need to “work on myself” more. Because there are so many things I want to be better at and feel more accomplished in.

I have a mental list, (as well as a physical one … somewhere … ) of all the skills I want to develop.

The list is mainly made up of things I want to spend more time doing. Like drawing and painting, maybe even trying to sell some of the things I create.

It includes languages that I want to learn and improve on. As well as a plethora of online courses I want to enroll in, (which practically cover everything from photography to the war in Afghanistan).

I have this urge to work towards something. To feel like I’m bettering myself, like I’m pushing myself to actually create the life I want to live and be the person I want to be too.

I think I miss the deadline driven nature of University. You get a task and you have a certain amount of time to complete it. I miss that feeling, (I know, geek alert). But it really does make you feel accomplished when you hit that deadline and succeed.


But the scary thing is that my list is looonngggggggggg. So long in fact that I want to simultaneously work on every. single. thing. all. at. once and also do absolutely nothing because it’s too daunting.

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Almost breaking my ankle might have actually been a good thing, here’s why …

I’m sitting on our couch underneath a very cosy blanket, with my swollen foot elevated on the coffee table, a big bump on my forehead and a uterus that wants to kill me from the inside out (better than outside in I suppose). This happened a couple of weeks ago and I’ve finally got around to sharing it with you.

Here goes …

Our first TaoBao order had arrived.

Basically, TaoBao is an online shop where you can buy ANYTHING you can think of. Literally anything. My friend once bought a gigantic turkey from it … and the oven to cook it in.

But because we weren’t in when the delivery guy came by, he dropped it off at some obscure little corner shop we’d never heard of. After asking my landlord where our beloved treasure was stowed, she offered to just take me and show me.

Two minutes after she messaged to suggest that she show me, she messaged to say she was already downstairs, waiting for me.

My Chinese friends do that a lot. They just turn up really quickly and then you feel bad because you’re still in pyjamas and haven’t even brushed your teeth yet — you thought you were just discussing the idea, not that it was already in motion…

Photo Crediti: via Google Images

Anyway, I went into stress-panic mode. And in my hurry to meet her and let her know I was on my way, (I hate keeping people waiting), I frantically texted her while going down the stairs.

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Big decisions & Self-doubt: What I’ve been up to the last 2 years

For the past year I’ve been in limbo. Limbo between jobs, between countries, between pay cheques and houses. In every way possible way, things have been uncertain.

I haven’t really felt in control of much/anything, not even of what I eat or when I sleep.

To you at home it might look like my life is crazy — a complete and utter mess. A “stay clear of her”, kind of thing.


Or it might look like an epic adventure, void of responsibilities and the humdrum of the day-to-day.

I think it’s been a mixture of both.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have stayed with extraordinarily kind and generous people, literally across the world. I met my husband (say whatttttttt!) in what seems like a scene from a Rom-Com.

It really has been a year full of surprises. But, it has also been filled with considerable stress and anxiety.

I’ve been constantly questioning if I’m making good decisions or even the right decisions. (Because good decisions exist, right?)

And I’ve been worrying if I am going to regret my spontaneous choices.

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How I created my own stress funk, (and how I got out of it!)


About a month ago my husband and I moved to China. (Because people just decide things like that … and buy flights the same day).

We’re going to be foreign English teachers at this new training school which focuses on the Arts. And I’m so excited to start teaching again!

So fast forward (rewind?) to 2 weeks ago.

Our jobs were ready and our working visas in progress. The last hurdle was to find an apartment.

It’s worth mentioning that while we were house searching, we still weren’t entirely sure where our school would be.

Yep, you heard right. Our school was negotiating on a location, and we didn’t know where we’d actually be working.

So, two weeks ago …

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“Why is he with her?”


Body image. Two words that can send even the strongest of us running. Literally? Literally.

They have definitely sent me running more times than I’d care to admit, but I’m admitting it now.

If you don’t know already, my husband is a personal trainer. He’s strong and committed to looking after his body, and has a passion to help others learn to do the same.

When we first met I thought his profession was SO cool. I mean, he’s fit, he’s into me, and he can write me free workouts. Win, win! 😉

But it wasn’t long until my perfectionism found a way to twist it into another way to judge myself.

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