It’s the giving season as the holiday’s approach. My heart is always in the right place and I absolutely love doing for others and volunteering. Somewhere around December 1, I realized I totally overextended myself. I was going over my calendar for the month and I literally was having chest pains. I began to feel totally overwhelmed. I tend to overthink and began to worry about what I was serving for Hanukkah and Christmas, and it’s only the beginning of the month.  I got to thinking, why do I do this to myself every year? I need to learn how to spread stuff out and to say no when I really can’t do something. I preach self-care, and it’s so important but I often forget that I need to practice what I preach.

I noticed I have been checked out. I have not been talking to my friends or family. Avoiding calls and just not feeling social.

I think we need to heed what our minds and bodies are telling us and pay attention to those cues. I was having telltale signs of being burnt out.

I feel guilty when someone reaches out to me for help and I say no. It’s a blessing and a curse. My mom always said expectations are resentments under construction.

I made too many commitments and I was really starting to feel stressed out. I resented some of the things I had to do because I made the commitment, but was feeling dragged in a hundred directions. I have spoken in a past blog about some serious medical issues I have been dealing with, and in order for me to save face and be Wonder Woman; I have neglected the fact that I need to rest and I need to make sure I take care of myself.

So, how do we set boundaries with friends, family, work and, commitments?  I clearly have not been so great at doing this for myself.

Boundaries are a way to set rules and limits so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. How do we begin to set those boundaries?

  1. Take inventory of what you are capable of doing
  2. If you feel like you have to say no, do it and don’t feel guilty
  3. Self-care is so important; take time for yourself
  4. Don’t backtrack (don’t feel bad about saying NO)
  5. Ask for help if you need it; don’t be afraid to delegate
  6. Follow your instincts (they are usually always right)
  7. Limit the amount of things you commit to; give yourself room to balance your own needs and that which you give to others
  8. Build self-esteem- don’t feel that you will be rejected if you to set a limit
  9. Utilize a  to-do list so that you can compartmentalize what needs to get done
  10. It’s okay if not everyone likes you- don’t change who you are for anyone

I made some plans to try and take care of myself this month by seeing old friends, going out to dinner, a few comedy shows, a sex toy party with the ladies, and even a girl’s day out at the spa, at the end of the month.

I thought I would share on my blog today, some of the fun things that we have planned as a family and with my friends. I also want to share a soul-warming recipe for my family latkes!


Music –

Mac Miller

Girls Spa Day

Hand and Stone Massage and Facial; 345 Mamaroneck Avenue, Mamaroneck NY 10543; Opens 9 am -9 pm; 268-9040

Family Event-

Hello Panda Festival, Citified; The largest lantern festival in the Northeast; 41 Seaver Way , Queens, NY

Comedy Club –

Levity Comedy Club, Palisades Mall; 4210 Palisades Center Drive, Nyack, NY ;

Sex Toy Party Company

Okay, enough of that LET’S EAT!

Debbie’s Latkes-

4 potatoes (I use Yukon gold)

1 large Onion

1 Egg

½ cup of matzah meal

Salt and pepper (a tablespoon of each)

Vegetable Oil

Sour cream or Apple sauce

You can really top latkes with anything, be imaginative, we like it old school

  1. Grate the onion and squeeze out any moisture ( use cheesecloth  or a kitchen towel)
  2. Peel and grate the potatoes, squeeze out all of the moisture
  3. Mix the onions and potatoes; if they still feel wet; squeeze again
  4. Add egg, salt, and pepper
  5. Combine mixture with matzah meal
  6. Heat the oil
  7. Take about a 1/3 cup and make into a patty form
  8. Fry until golden brown on both sides

(Keep the batches warm in the oven at 275 degrees) Top with your favorite toppings

Disclaimer – make double what you will think you need! I usually make this times five and nothing is ever left

Deborah Levine-Powell is a psychotherapist in New York, where she works with teenage girls who are victims of abuse and trafficking. She is a wife and a mom to a tween and teenager. When she is not working, you can find her engaged in PTA activities, a leader at Girl Scouts, having fun with her friends and family, while serving up hot soulful dishes in the kitchen.

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