Setting Relationship Boundaries to Avoid Burnout

Boundaries help to define you as a person. What you will and won’t do. What type of people you will and will not keep around you. If you don’t have boundaries it’s hard to identify to yourself and for others, what is and isn’t acceptable. This can be a big cause of stress and anxiety. And feeling burnt out.

Setting boundaries aren’t just about telling people no. It is a healthy way to define the rules of any relationship (friendship, romantic, parent or sibling, and especially professional relationships). When you properly set boundaries you get more fulfillment out of your life and you eliminate one of the biggest causes of daily stress.

How to Identify Unhealthy Relationship Boundaries

It can be difficult to spot bad or nonexistent relationship boundaries at first. Bad boundaries might seem normal, especially since you’ve been operating with them for so long. But there are a few identifying questions you can ask yourself to start to determine if that relationship is truly working for you. 

1. Does this person speak for me or over me? You need to be the decision maker for yourself. Being an introvert isn’t an excuse to let others speak over you. We all have a voice and should be comfortable using it, and those we are in a relationship with (no matter the type) should respect you enough to let you use it. 

2. Will this person or project be a growth or pleasure opportunity? 3. Does spending time with this person enrich my life? 

4. How do you feel when you’re around someone, do they suck your energy, bring you peace, love, or excitement? 

5. What do you feel physically when you’re interacting with someone who drains you? 

6. What thoughts do you experience when you’re engaged in a relationship or event that drains you? 

After reading those questions, you most likely have a few relationships that come to mind. Take a few moments to really think your answers through. Your next steps might be eliminating that person from your life or a smaller but equally important action like not always saying yes to their request for help. Turning down projects, professional responsibilities, and favors from friends can be very hard. Being depended on to take care of things, whether at home or at work, can make us feel needed. But we can’t confuse needed with good.The more we start to take on and allow others to become dependant on us we lose ourselves, And before we know it we lose sight of our own needs— running the risk of mental and physical burn out.

Learning to Say No

It is important to be able to say no without guilt. If you put yourself last you run yourself mentally and physically into the ground. Forcing you into a stressed crisis state which leaves you prime for illness, migraines, and a host of other issues. 

It is ok to take time before responding to a favor request.

Ask yourself:

• Do I have the time to do it? 

• Can I handle the mental load of the task while maintaining a healthy stress level? 

Learning to let go of the guilt that arrises with taking a break isn’t easy. But it is crucial to setting healthy boundaries. As much as healthy boundaries are about being clear with others, they are a lot about how you treat yourself. This starts with getting rid of the guilt you feel when needing a breather from the daily grind. Taking a few minutes, an hour or an entire day to relax and reset will allow you to bring renewed focus and energy to those around you and your tasks at hand. 

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