Boundaries are often thought of in a negative context, but I believe they allow for balance in your work and family time and provide harmony within your relationships. When you focus on what you need, that is when the edges appear to you, creating the boundaries required to live your best life.
In my yoga classes, I often explore the boundaries within the physical practice. For example, holding a balance pose for a bit longer than expected or what feels comfortable so that students explore where their edge is within their bodies while also learning how to rely on their own center of gravity. When we practice reaching and discovering where those edges are physically, we can sometimes then better understand how to apply that to our everyday lives. While testing and trusting our own deep center of balance, we can rely on our own intuition rather than looking for external validation or acceptance.
So what do boundaries look like for you? Maybe it means leaving work or shutting down the computer at 5 pm every night. Or recognizing that traveling for the holidays to see the family is only going to intensify your feelings of overwhelm. Or perhaps it means not spending time with people who feed off of negativity and gossip. If you say to yourself, “this isn’t right for me,” “I can’t do this anymore.” Give yourself permission to create the boundaries you need right now and move the edges a bit when needed. The lines don’t need to be rigid; we can go through various seasons of intensity. Rigid lines mean that people can’t cross them, and yes, there will be some fixed lines in your life; these are the deal breakers. But most of our boundaries are and can be ever-moving and shifting based on you and your environment and on compromises that need to take place.
For example, shutting down the computer at 5 pm every night sets the boundary of work-life balance. There is a huge need for this boundary to exist after the pandemic with folks working from home and even now with people transitioning to full-time telework. But there may be a season where that may not be possible based on deadlines you can’t control. For example, the tax accountant can’t shut down their computer at 5 pm every day starting on April 1st. It’s just not possible. They have a limited amount of time to file a bunch of people’s taxes. So the boundary may shift during that busy season. The key is to recognize where the season begins and ends and where the boundaries can continue to be.
We need to step further away from burnout. We need to move further away from that addiction to being busy. Let’s be honest, none of us are so important that we can’t take our accumulated vacation days. And yet so many Americans don’t use their vacation time, spouting off rhetoric that they don’t have the time or that it will be more challenging when they return. I’ve been guilty of this myself at times!
But if that is the case, there is a problem that needs to be fixed with creating boundaries. Don’t wait till December to figure this out. What boundary can you put in place today to successfully take that vacation later in the year? What boundary can you put in place that creates more space for you to breathe and feel at ease within your soul? You’ll discover that other people will respect and honor the example that you set forth. Focus on setting boundaries as a necessary step in your self-care journey. If you need help with this, I am available to coach you through this process.