Ways to Build Better Boundaries
I recently came across a quote by American professor, lecturer and author, Brené Brown, which struck a chord with me in a way that I hadn’t expected during a wild, Friday night of study-time!
What resonated with me was how often we can ignore our own advice when it comes to preserving our well-being, and the various forms in which self-care and self-compassion can take shape. A key feature of this, is to Set Boundaries as highlighted below:
“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.” – Brené Brown
Brown’s quote reminded me how important it is to have strong boundaries to help practice self-care and self-respect, and to allow ourselves to make space for positive interactions. I started to think about ways in which this can be practiced and made a note of the following:
Say NO without guilt
Saying yes or being ‘agreeable’ in instances that make you uncomfortable can often stem from feelings of guilt, which keeps us from establishing a healthy boundary for ourselves. Instead, I (try to) maintain balance to limit burnout/overload by rephrasing ‘yes absolutely’ to ‘I really appreciate that you thought of me for XYZ’, but right now this won’t be possible…’ It’s not easy but practice makes perfect!
Allowing yourself to switch off
As important as it is to be in contact with loved ones who are afar during a time like this, too much virtual contact can start to become a little tiresome and overwhelming (good old ‘Zoom Fatigue’). The more ‘plugged in’ we are, chances are that were also increasing our news intake and time spent on social media. Try setting boundaries with screen time for both work and social life. This can help to retain a sense of control and reduce the dreaded blue-light intake.
Have designated work/study spaces
Try to establish a home and work-life boundary: It may be useful to designate different areas of your home, in whichever way that you can, as ‘work/study’, relax’ or ‘privacy’ spaces. Perhaps draw up some rules with family members/housemates about different spaces i.e., office corner or alone corner.
Protecting your emotional space
Boundaries are a deeply personal choice and can vary from one person to another. It is important to identify and define your set of values; honour these through assertive (firm, but kind) communication and reach out for support. Try and take some time out in the day to reflect on your own set of boundaries, and how you can implement these to ensure health and wellbeing: mental, physical, and emotional.
To leave you all with another quote by family therapist Jenn Kennedy,
“We all have limits, and boundaries can communicate that line.”
By Neha Gupta – Safeguarding Lead
Posted on: 14th April 2021