With the new way of working, establishing and maintaining personal boundaries is more important than ever. Balancing work and home, i.e. work-life balance, is challenging in the best of circumstances but with working from home the norm, it is more important than ever.
In a 2019 report by Deloitte, 77% of workers had experienced stress and burnout; wonder what that number is now that people are not able to place some separation between home and work. Let’s add having children and spouses, or other family members, at home and it adds to this dilemma.
So what are boundaries exactly? According to Webster’s dictionary, a boundary is:
A boundary essential is where you determine what you will tolerate from someone else, in how they speak or act towards you; they also mean how much you are willing to do for others. Establishing them in all aspects of your life will lead to more satisfaction and overall happiness.
Here are five reasons to have boundaries
1. A boundary tells you what your responsibility is in a given situation. You already have some boundaries at; these are the parameters of your job or your responsibilities and usually are marked out pretty clearly when you took the job or where enrolled. On a personal level, a boundary tells you who you’re responsible for (yourself of course, but you might also be a caregiver). But what about your other responsibilities such as paying your bills, or taking care of your pets? How far do these extend?
2. A boundary keeps you safe. Many of these should go without saying – such as abstaining from drinking and driving. But sometimes you have to set some such boundaries for yourself. Such as whether or not it’s healthy to be in a relationship with a certain individual.
3. A boundary tells us who we are. Are you a good person? A bad person? A selfish person? A pious one? Our moral code becomes the boundary that defines us.
4. A boundary clarifies your needs. What things need to be in place in your life for you to be happiest and healthiest? What protects you for overwork or abuse?
5. A boundary defines your relationships. What are the parameters of your relationship? Is that healthy? What is your responsibility to that other person? How are they responsible for you?
With all that, it makes sense that having strong boundaries is a good idea. Especially when you take into consideration these facts:
…give you a better idea of who you are
…help others to understand your needs
…give guidelines in your relationships
…make for healthy interactions with other people
And perhaps most important of all, they are an integral part of self-care. If you have ever gotten upset by tasks or actions that you’ve done, while getting know acknowledgment or help – then a boundary has been crossed. If you have ever felt resentful towards someone who doesn’t help out or takes advantage, then a boundary has been crossed. Typically, this goes along with perceptions and expectations, but I’ll save that for another post.
If you’re struggling with maintaining boundaries, or looking to establish them, here are three quick tips to get started:
- write down all the tasks that you do and who they impact. List out if they are yours or at the request of someone else.
- identify if they are essential (must do), needed, or can wait. Rate them by order of importance and how you feel when doing them; notice your emotions, particularly if a negative one comes up and assess reasons why.
- Look at your list and then see which you can say no to – how does it feel? The more you address the emotions that occur, the easier it will be to implement your boundaries.
You don’t have to do them all at once- start with and see how it feels. I usually find that it is easier than one first thinks. Its also important to revisit your boundaries occasionally and re-evaluate them. As we grow and change, our boundaries will change as well.
With all this at stake, it’s important to give your boundaries attention. Boundaries can mean the difference between a happy and healthy life or a life of drudgery and resentment. Don’t let it be the latter.
If you’d like more tips, visit our Facebook page, Elite Leadership Success Insititute, nd our group, Fableader Network.
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