The Importance of Setting Boundaries
Setting boundaries is one of the most important and meaningful mental health practices. When you establish boundaries, you can thrive without burning out. You'll draw a safe space where you can become the best version of yourself. And when you're the best version of yourself, you can give more to those around you. So, even though they're your personal boundaries, they benefit others, too.
It's Important to Set Boundaries with Yourself
Before you can set boundaries with others, you must first set them with yourself. This was difficult for me because I am extremely hard on myself. No matter what the task, I always left feeling like I could have--should have--done more. So the process of setting boundaries felt like doing a disservice to myself when, in reality, it was the best action I could take.
The first thing I did was examine my patterns. What situations made me feel overwhelmed? When did I need to take a break? What emotionally drained me? I found that I often grew anxious when I said "yes" to too many social engagements. So, I decided I would only make three social commitments per week, and I didn't let myself budge. At first, I felt guilty, like I should have been doing more (and I may or may not have felt some FOMO or fear of missing out). But after just one week, I had more energy not just in my social life but also at school and work. I understood the importance of setting boundaries.
It's Also Important to Set Boundaries with Others
Human beings are made to help each other. When you're going through a tough time, having supportive people helps you feel better. And when you're one of those people for someone else, you feel better, too. We all generally like to help each other out. However, serving others too much can quickly become unhealthy for your mental health if you aren't careful. You can prevent burnout by setting boundaries.
For example, one of my friends, who has depression, turns to me on their bad days. I've let them know that I love them and want to help them, but I can't be available at all times and hours. So my boundary is a 12-hour response time, provided that they're not in a mental health emergency (in that case, I try to help as quickly as I can). This boundary has relieved pressure on me, so when I do respond to my struggling friend, I can give them my full self. And my friend knows ahead of time what to expect from me.
It's important for you to set boundaries. Be honest with yourself and set a reasonable boundary. If it doesn't work for you, don't hesitate to adjust it. Even though setting boundaries might feel like you're limiting yourself, you're really learning to trust yourself.
Clawson, A. (2021, September 8). The Importance of Setting Boundaries, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, January 28 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/mentalhealthforthedigitalgeneration/2021/9/the-importance-of-setting-boundaries