Set Healthy Boundaries

Boundaries can be both physical as well as emotional and are a critical aspect during the holidays. They also help us…

– Avoid burnout
– Develop a sense of autonomy
– Influence and model behavior for others
– Promote emotional health
– Increase well-being

But what do healthy boundaries look like? Well, it depends on the context, but some examples include:

– Separating your work and personal life by not having email on your phone 24/7
– Setting expectations for what you are and aren’t comfortable with in your personal and professional life
– Remembering that you’re not responsible for every aspect of someone else’s happiness or lack thereof
– Sharing what you need and what you’re able to provide
– Saying no
– Accepting help when needed

Much like Santa trying to shimmy down the chimney after a night of cookies, setting boundaries can be challenging. Here’s a framework to use for setting personal boundaries in work and life:

Define — First, we must be aware of the boundaries we need. Remember bowling as a kid? It’s time to put up those bumpers. Otherwise, it can be easy for your boundaries to “go into the gutter.”

Communicate — After defining your boundaries, share what you need. The key here is to say what you need. Use “I” statements, such as “I need some space and time right now.” This will go over better than statements such as “You have to stop coming over here every day,” as it will increase the likelihood of an authentic conversation.

K.I.S. Principle — Keep it simple. You don’t need to over-explain or justify how you’re feeling. Sometimes sharing things more than once is also required, as making shifts in relationships can take time. Be persistent and clear in the process.

Mind the Boundaries — Make sure to share why these boundaries are important and know the action you will take if they are not respected. It is important to plan ahead and be ready to follow through with these actions. For example, maybe it’s spending less time with someone, texting less frequently, or finding an ally to support you in this transition.

As you navigate the holidays, work, relationships, and life in general, practice the skill of setting effective boundaries to thrive now and in the future. It’s of benefit to yourself, and all those around you.