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How To Set and Maintain Healthy Boundaries

Has there ever been a point in your life where you felt like things with school or work were overwhelming? Or a time when you felt like many people in your inner circle wanted or needed something from you that you couldn’t give? If so, it is possible that you were being pulled in many different directions. During these times, it can be beneficial to create and set boundaries for yourself, as a way to protect yourself and your energy.

Setting boundaries is an essential skill that can be utilized in personal, academic, and professional environments. It serves as a way for individuals to communicate their needs and establish clear limits with relationships and expectations from others.  Setting healthy boundaries is vital for developing healthier relationships and is a great catalyst for implementing self-care practices.  Additionally, boundaries can also help individuals feel more positive about themselves and avoid the causes and stressors of anxiety.

When setting boundaries, the first step is understanding what a boundary is.  Essentially, a boundary is a type of limit or hard line that one creates to symbolize where comfort ends and discomfort begins.  This limit is utilized to maintain physical safety, and emotional well-being, and/or promote healthy relationship rules/expectations.

Next, it is important to ask yourself where there might be some issues that feel draining or uncomfortable for you.  If you can identify something that you consider to be a problem area, then it might be beneficial to create and implement boundaries for yourself with this particular area.

Boundaries tend to look different for different people.  Some examples of setting boundaries include:

  • Telling a friend no. (e.g. A close friend has been pressuring you to go mountain biking with them, but you feel a bit scared or worried about doing so.  In this instance, you would establish a boundary by telling the friend you will not be going.)
  • Maintaining some distance around sensitive topics amongst family members (e.g. A family member has frequently been criticizing aspects of your appearance and/or weight. In this instance, you would establish a boundary by telling the person that their behavior is hurtful / makes you uncomfortable.  You then tell them to stop this behavior or else you will spend less time with them moving forward.)
  • Creating a distraction-free environment when at work.  (e.g. You tend to get numerous notifications from texts, social media apps, and non-work related emails that distract you from your job and make it difficult to get tasks done.  In this instance, you would establish a boundary by placing your phone on Do Not Disturb while at work.)
  • Separating work from home.  (e.g. You find yourself unnecessarily taking your work home with you, which starts to blur the separation between work life and home life for yourself.  In this instance, you would establish a boundary by leaving work materials at work and focusing on relaxing/enjoying your free time while at home.)
  • Informing your romantic partner that you need space.  (e.g. You and your romantic partner have been getting into arguments frequently, which tend to escalate into yelling and/or hurt feelings.  In this case, you would create a boundary by letting your partner know that you need some space or time away from them after the conflict to process your feelings or de-escalate the conflict.)

Overall, setting boundaries is essential to maintaining self-care and healthy relationships.  Ultimately, it is up to you to determine what feels like the best fit when it comes to implementing boundaries.

Feel free to try out different types of boundaries, as there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this.  If you would like to learn more about boundaries or want to know when to seek mental health counseling, please reach out to your San Antonio therapist at Sillon Wellness Services.

Sillon Wellness psychologists and counselors are experienced in evidence-based care who specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with mood disorders, eating disorders, and trauma. You can avail of a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation with our San Antonio Psychologist to determine whether we are the best fit for you.

If you want to start living, really living, contact us or call us at 719.623.2356 to book your first appointment. Sillon Wellness accepts Aetna Insurance, Cigna Insurance, TRIWest Insurance, and Tricare Insurance.