As the warm summer days slowly begin to fade into the crisp autumn air, the realization that back to school is fast approaching is dawning on many of us parents. Between establishing a structured routine for our little ones and winding down the summer vacation days, many are preparing to head back into the school year with a packed work schedule.
While establishing a routine for our little ones is key as they get ready for the school year, we must not neglect our own mental health and well being!
As summer winds down and we get ready to jump head-first into our daily lives, it’s key to put our own mental health and well being as a priority during this transition time.
For many following the jam-packed summer months, setting boundaries that promote a healthy separation between work and personal life is not an easy task.
And that is okay!
Today I am going to dive into how you can implement boundaries within your personal and work life as you jump back into the swing of things, to ensure your well being is best supported through this transition.
Let’s dive in!
Why Boundaries Are Important
Boundaries are the invisible limits we set for ourselves in order to feel respected and in harmony with our mental and physical wellness. These limits operate as a protective screen against burnout, stress, and tiredness, which often occurs when these lines are blurred and work and personal life merge into one.
Setting clear boundaries allows us to keep our responsibilities separate, allowing us to be fully present and active in both areas of our lives.
Because yes, it is possible to be present in both!
How Do Boundaries Impact Our Mental Health?
When the boundaries between our work and personal life merge into one, it is hard for us to prioritize responsibilities and be fully present within both areas.
You may find that you are more irritable at work, or feel burnt out. You may find that you do not have the energy for any responsibilities at home, because you are always thinking about what the next work day will be like.
As a result of your mind always being on hyperdrive, you will slowly begin to feel more tension, anxiety, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed in both your personal and work life.
By maintaining appropriate boundaries in each area of your life, you are able to effectively lower your stress levels and handle each responsibility with delicate care and attention. You won’t feel stressed when completing the task, but rather, a sense of fulfillment when it is complete.
Tips for Setting Boundaries
Now that we have uncovered the invisible string between your boundaries and mental health, we can dive into a few of my favorite strategies to help you implement those boundaries in your life! Let’s dive in.
- Align Your Priorities with Your Values
Arguably one of the most important aspects to establishing boundaries, is to narrow down your priorities in each aspect of your life. This will allow you to allocate your time and energy more effectively, ensuring that each aspect is well nourished and taken care of the way it deserves!
- Allocate Your Time (And Stick To It!)
While traditional working hours are typically 9-5pm, with the introduction of working from home since the pandemic, many have found that their work hours merge into their personal hours. However, it is so important to be able to set boundaries within your working hours. Set a clear schedule for yourself, which consists of a “hard shut off” at the end of the day. No checking your email, no checking up on things from your phone. A total shut off! Try it for a few weeks, and see if it is manageable for you. If you find you are unable to do a “hard shut off” right away, consider doing a “soft shut off” and slowly build from there.
- Learn to Say No and Let Go of Guilt
If a long day at work has you feeling exhausted, it is okay to say no to social gatherings! If a night in with some rest is what your body needs, listen to what you need. It is completely valid to decline social responsibilities that conflict with your boundaries.
- Communicate Openly & Honestly
Your boundaries cannot be understood or implemented, until they are understood by all. While they may be implemented by yourself, those who do not understand your boundaries due to a lack of communication may not respect them. That is because they did not know they were there in the first place! Communicate your boundaries to coworkers, friends, and family members. Inform them of your availability, and like I just mentioned, don’t be afraid to say no.
Prioritize Your Mental Well Being with Emily
Boundaries are a powerful tool used to improve the relationship between your personal life and your work life. By implementing them, you can expect to see a harmonious balance between the two.
But remember, implementing and maintaining your boundaries takes time and effort. Start slow, and do what feels right for you and your well being.
And if you are in need of an extra hand to take the first step, let’s connect!
Disclaimer: Emily is a board-certified health coach with knowledge and training in these areas, however, it is important to always consult your doctor to make sure any of these ideas are safe and okay for you.