A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries

You probably know the term “boundaries,” but you might not know how to define or establish them. While boundaries may sound cold or off-putting, they should be created to care for yourself and nurture healthy relationships. People set boundaries for many reasons, but as long as they are clearly communicated, they can look like just about anything you want them to. Ready to learn how to set healthy boundaries? Read on!

Think About Your Needs

It’s okay if you aren’t entirely sure what aspects of your life require boundaries; that just means it’s time for some self-reflection. Once you’ve come up with some ideas, write them down in a journal to keep your thoughts organized.

Start Small

Setting boundaries can be scary, so there is no shame in starting small. Building boundaries slowly means you can go at your own pace, and you’ll have plenty of time for tweaking as you go.

Consider Your Values

Consider what you value and set boundaries to prevent things from interfering with your values. For instance, if having dinner at home with your family is important to you, don’t accept extra night shifts. And just like that, you’ve set a boundary.

Be Clear and Concise

No matter how big or small your boundaries are, ensure they are clearly communicated to avoid confusion.

Evaluate Relationships and Set Boundaries Accordingly

Every relationship is different. The boundaries you set with your significant other will differ from those you put in place at work. Once you’ve evaluated your relationships, it’s time to determine what boundaries are the most critical.

Set Boundaries for Yourself, Too

This is especially important if you crave alone time. Consider how much time you need, and carve it out for quality time with yourself.

Know That It Takes Practice

Setting boundaries may not feel natural right away, and that’s totally normal. So keep setting boundaries, communicating, and sticking to them. Eventually, it should feel more natural.

Don’t Forget About Social Media

It can be easy to overshare online. So as you set boundaries in real life, remember to set them online as well.

Communicate Crossed Boundaries

As important as it is to communicate boundaries from the beginning, it’s equally crucial to share when a line has been crossed. If you don’t love confrontation, you aren’t alone. But have no fear; these discussions don’t need to be confrontational. For example, if a friend calls you for help several times a day, and it gets in the way of your work, set your phone on “do not disturb,” so you won’t be interrupted. Then, gently let the person know that you saw they tried to reach you, and you’ll get back to them when you have time. It can be that simple!

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