Boundaries are incredibly important for our overall well-being. They become even more important if you are experiencing anxiety or going through a highly stressful situation - such as a global pandemic. We will outline the what, when, why and how to's.
The What, When, Why’s & Hows of Boundary Setting
Boundaries are incredibly important for our overall well-being. They become even more important if you are experiencing anxiety or going through a highly stressful situation - such as a global pandemic.
Boundaries are guidelines or expectations that we set for ourselves. Things that we need to do and/or things we need to avoid, in order to maintain our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
Determining what these boundaries are for yourself involves some introspection (ie. self-exploration). It also involves understanding why, when and how to set boundaries.
What are boundaries?
- Rules that you set for yourself and for others in your life
- Guidelines on how to treat yourself and how you hope others will treat you
- To be set for all personal relationships in your life (ie. friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours, etc.)
- Most importantly...these are guidelines to be set for your relationship with yourself
Why set boundaries?
- Ultimate expression of self-love and self-care
- Helps prevent toxic or negative energies from entering or staying in your life
- Thereby also encourages positive and like-minded people to surround you in your life
- Encourages self-worth
When to set boundaries?
- Always. As you grow and situations change you can adapt accordingly
- Particularly important when experiencing high stress/anxiety-inducing situation(s)
- Or if you notice someone or a group of people who are repeatedly:
- Saying harmful or upsetting comments (knowingly or unknowingly)
- Expecting too much from you
- Putting you down or making you question self-worth
- Overly critical or negative
How to set boundaries:
- Take time to check-in with yourself, exploring what, if anything, has been upsetting you recently
- Perhaps there is one (or a couple) things in particular you have noticed affecting your mood? Examples could be:
- Constant news updates
- Social media - perhaps certain accounts you follow in particular?
- Family member/friend
- Time spent indoors
- Eating habits
- Anything else you can think of that is not serving you (ie. not bringing joy)
- Ask yourself if there have been any disruptions in your routine lately that you could attribute to changes in well-being
- If so, are any of these changes within your control (ie. something about the disruption you can change)?
- Write it all out - be as clear as possible
- What are the boundaries you’re setting and why?
- Set consequences: actions you’re willing to follow through on should the boundaries be broken (by you or someone else)
- Avoid judgement or blaming (with yourself and others)
- Guide others on how to better respect your boundaries (instead of simply being mad at them or blaming them) *see note below*
- Be gentle on yourself if you go against a boundary - recognize the misstep and try and redirect yourself back on the correct course
There is no better time than now to start putting yourself and your needs first.
*Don’t want to receive every update on COVID-19, but your parents keep sending them to you? Let them know! Can’t handle people not taking the situation seriously? Let them know that too!
Never be afraid to speak your mind - without shame or embarrassment. Communication is key!
Checkout the next article of this two-part series, to learn how to effectively communicate boundaries to others and reassuring responses to others boundaries.