Do you always feel tired, stressed, overworked and underappreciated? These feelings usually are caused by the lack of boundaries in your personal and/or professional life.
Whether you’re a good-hearted person who wants to be as helpful as possible or you’re too afraid of what will happen if you firmly say no, burning the candle at both can take a toll on you.
This is why establishing boundaries is incredibly important for your mental and physical health. If you’re spreading yourself too thin either at work, at home, or both, you need to look at all aspects of your life and make adjustments accordingly.
- Without professional boundaries, you may end up taking on too many tasks, including those that are not your responsibility, ultimately lowering your work quality and burning yourself out.
- Without personal boundaries, you may put your personal space at risk, which can eventually stress you out and destroy your relationships.
To help you set healthy boundaries, we’ll go over the benefits, how to identify when they’re needed and useful tips to help you establish and stick to your boundaries.
Why Set Boundaries?
Healthy boundaries are important because you’re able to set clear limits for family, friends, colleagues and bosses, which prevents you from feeling such as irrational guilt.
Plus, when you learn to say “no” the healthy way, you can focus your time and energy on accomplishing what’s important to you.
What it prevents:
- Other people taking advantage of you.
- Forming toxic personal relationships
- Sabotaging relationships at work.
- The risk of depression, burnout, and chronic stress.
What you get in return:
- Freedom to establish and enjoy your personal space.
- Achieve an excellent work-life balance.
- Build your self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Empower you to achieve personal and professional goals.
Example: Importance of professional boundaries
At work, Miranda is well-known for being a great co-worker. She works long hours, puts in weekend office hours, and takes up work of colleagues almost every day to assist them.
While Miranda enjoyed the reputation initially, the stress of work, expectations of colleagues, and her own destructive need to maintain her reputation, burned her out.
Eventually, she started missing deadlines, and her work quality and performance declined, and she developed anxiety and was on the brink of losing her job.
Example: Importance of personal boundaries
Joshua is well-known among his family and friends for being nice. He puts the needs of his friends and family first, often sacrificing his own needs in the process. Soon, everyone started taking him for granted and began to intrude into his personal space.
Joshua had no time for himself or time to maintain his relationships. His relationships, and eventually, his self-esteem crumbled, leading to depression.
Understand that by setting healthy boundaries you are valuing yourself and earning others’ respect as well.
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Tips to Set Boundaries at Work and Home
Setting boundaries requires you to identify them first. Whether at work or at home, it’s important to know what you can tolerate and what you cannot.
Be aware of the feelings and emotions you go through when it comes to other people’s behavior. If a behavior or emotion makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or that something is wrong, then consider it a warning sign. Back off and set a limit.
Take time to identify your physical and mental triggers to help you define and create your boundaries. After defining your boundaries, take the following steps to ensure that stick to your healthy boundaries at home and work.
Make Your Limits Clear to Others
It’s important to be assertive to make others understand your limits. If someone keeps messaging you, even after you tell them that you’re not available, then it’s time to be firm.
Tell them that you are not able to read or respond to their message and that you would appreciate if they stopped this behavior and respect your request.
If a colleague at work keeps pushing his/ her own tasks, then explain that you have your own deadlines to meet. Convey clearly that you would not be able to help them.
Many people are not assertive by nature, and if you are one of them, then take things slow. To be suddenly assertive can be overwhelming. Build your confidence by being assertive about smaller things.
Get Rid of Unwanted Guilt and Fear
When you start setting and enforcing your boundaries, you may feel as if you are being harsh or selfish. You may also fear that you may lose a relationship by saying no.
You may be the oldest sibling that wants to be the committed and accommodating one. It could be that you are afraid that you may be failing in your duty if you say no to your younger siblings.
Get rid of these toxic emotions. Understand that by setting healthy boundaries you are valuing yourself and earning others’ respect as well.
Be Consistent in Asserting Yourself
It can be hard to be assertive with others about your limits. It is a skill, which like other skills, needs practice. Try not to be too lenient and violate your own rules. Be consistent in reminding others about your boundaries. With constant practice, the skill becomes a habit.
Remember that by maintaining boundaries, you are saving grief for yourself, and confusion for others, in the long run. Let this thought motivate you to be consistent in your assertiveness.
When you define and stick to your boundaries, you can transform your life, achieve your personal and professional goals without exhausting yourself in the process. Knowing your limits and setting them up needs time, patience and constant work. But it is an achievable life skill.
At Quotacy, we understand the importance of your well-being and the impact it can have on your ability to provide a positive way of life for your family.
This is why life insurance is so important. Having the right policy in place will give you the peace of mind knowing your family’s future is secure.
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About the writer
Director of Creative Strategy
Greg is Quotacy’s Director of Creative Strategy. He has an eclectic past from working on movie scripts to creating ad campaigns for major brands. His love of creative solutions drove him to strategy, and he now uses his powers to help families protect their loved ones. Outside of work, Greg spends his time off the grid hunting, fishing, camping, biking, hiking, and walking his dogs.