Self-Care and Setting Boundaries
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In today's fast-paced work environment, it can be challenging to find the right balance between working enough to keep your job and not overworking yourself to the point of burnout. Last July, TikTok user zaidleppelin posted a video that started a trend. “I recently learned about this term called ‘quiet quitting’ where you’re not outright quitting your job but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond,” he says in the video, which has millions of views. The anti-workplace trend stems essentially from disengagement and burnout. However, there is also opportunity in finding a way to set boundaries, having more work/life balance, and thriving in your personal and professional life from increased self-care.
Why Is Setting Boundaries Important?
Setting boundaries at work is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it helps you maintain a healthy work-life balance. Without boundaries, work can easily bleed into your personal time, causing stress, anxiety, and burnout. Setting boundaries allows you to prioritize your personal life and take care of yourself.
Secondly, setting boundaries helps you manage your workload and avoid overcommitting. By being clear about what you can and cannot do, you can avoid taking on too much and becoming overwhelmed. This allows you to be more productive and focused on the tasks that are most important.
Thirdly, when you box work into a defined effort-level and time, it allows you to prioritize and invest in other things outside of work. It makes you more well rounded. It helps you build your self-reliance, objectivity, confidence and overall happiness. You get an increased level of satisfaction and positive energy from your personal life.
Finally, setting boundaries can help you establish a positive relationship with your colleagues and employer. By being clear about your needs and expectations, you can build trust and respect, and avoid misunderstandings or conflicts.
Types Of Boundaries You Can Set At Work
There are several types of boundaries you can set at work, depending on your needs and situation. Here are some examples:
1. Time boundaries: Setting limits on when you're available to work, such as not checking email after a certain time or not working on weekends, helps you focus on hobbies or spending time with family and friends. Additionally, you need time in your personal life dedicated to self-care. Taking care of your physical and mental health by eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and taking breaks throughout the day requires that you protect the time you need for this. Your work will benefit because you will be better equipped to handle stress and avoid burnout.
2. Communication boundaries: By not answering calls or emails outside of working hours, you set clearer expectations with colleagues and clients. Depending on your role or your job, there may need to be exceptions to this. You can create stability though by mutually agreeing on what exactly and when are the exceptions.
3. Workload boundaries: One of the main reasons people overwork is because they have unrealistic expectations of themselves or their workload. To avoid this, set realistic expectations for yourself and communicate them with your boss or team. This includes setting achievable goals, deadlines, and priorities. Additionally, don't accept tasks outside of your current job capacity, especially if you are already at full capacity. However, if you are looking to grow your role or increase your skills, you may chose to take on additional work for temporary periods. Be clear with your boss or senior leaders on your goal and hold them accountable to their promises.
4. Personal boundaries: This involves setting limits on what you're willing to share or discuss with colleagues, such as not discussing personal or sensitive topics. This is a personal choice but in our experience, blurred boundaries make it harder to shut down and bring balance to your personal life. There are also bad actors that exploit your personal life to get more out of you at work.
How To Communicate Boundaries Effectively
Many people struggle with setting boundaries at work, whether it's because they fear negative consequences, want to be seen as a team player, or simply don't know how to go about it. The important things is to do it. And setting boundaries effectively is key to making them work.
1. When communicating your boundaries, be clear and specific about what you can and cannot do. This helps avoid misunderstandings or confusion.
2. Setting boundaries can be difficult, but it's important to be assertive in communicating them. However, you should also be respectful and considerate of others' needs and expectations.
3. If you're unable to meet someone's request, offer an alternative solution or compromise. This shows that you're willing to work together to find a solution.
4. Once you've set your boundaries, it's important to follow through on them. This helps establish trust and respect with your colleagues and employer. This means saying no to requests that are outside of your scope of work, don't align with your goals, or simply don't fit with your schedule or priorities. Saying no can be difficult, but it's important to prioritize your own needs and not feel obligated to take on everything that comes your way.
In conclusion, working enough to keep your job while avoiding burnout is all about finding the right balance. By setting realistic expectations, prioritizing self-care, learning to say no, setting boundaries, and taking breaks, you can maintain your productivity and job satisfaction without sacrificing your physical and mental health. Remember, it's essential to take care of yourself first in order to be your best at work.
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