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Healthy personal boundaries - stopping the cycle of burnouts

In one of my previous jobs, I had to constantly travel all over the UK delivering training to tons of people. Some of my colleagues were doing so much better than me, they would walk away from training feeling energised, ready to socialise after work. In the beginning I tried to keep up, but a year in I kept getting ill (I very rarely get ill) and was slipping into depression. A few months in I had a terrible accident which made me stop and re-evaluate everything.

I started meditating in my hotel room and retreating more, not meeting my colleagues for breakfasts or dinners, just so I could spend more time alone. It helped massively! Over the last few years I have made many changes that really help me to stay centred and more myself.

Boundaries for me are about self preservation. If I don’t look after myself, I can't show up for others in a way that I would like to. So many times I would try to squeeze all life juices not leaving anything behind. I am a serial self-burner, anyone else? And we all have different energy so what works for some might not work for others. I am a true introvert and even though I can be very social, I recharge when I’m alone. Something that I have learned over the years is that, there is no point comparing myself to others. Especially when it comes to energy levels.

Over the last few years I have established some boundaries that really help in my day to day life to stay more grounded. It can feel odd and even wrong to say 'NO' to things, but I always try to ask myself - where does the guilt come from? These are some of the boundaries that I currently have in place after being tested by me for a while. I think there is nothing wrong in trying different ways and seeing what works for you and what doesn't.

Work boundaries

  • Having separate work and personal phone

  • Never checking work emails after I finish work

  • Saying to NO to social work gatherings if they are outside working hours (of course there are exceptions)

  • No Zoom quizzes...

Phone boundaries

  • Setting daily time limits on all social media (2 hours)

  • Daily time limits on all apps apart from essential ones (I only allow messages and phone calls for communicating)

  • Unfollowing and muting anyone who evokes negative emotions from me

  • No notifications apart from calls or messages (even WhatsApp is silenced)

  • Always on silent and no vibration

What I am still working on

  • No screens after 8.30pm (apart from kindle)

  • No social media in the mornings

  • Not reading news


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