The change from one season to another is a perfect time to check in and assess how well you're managing your self-care and boundaries. Most humans can relate to changing energy and mood levels throughout the year. With shorter days, cooler weather, and grinding over the summer, we often want to slow down. As fall and winter creep in, we invite you to pause and reflect on your output thus far and what's in your tank for the remainder of the year.
What It Means To Set Boundaries
Boundaries are the limits we set for ourselves to live a life of ideal health, balance, peace, and fulfillment. They help define what we will and will not accept from others, ourselves, and everyday life scenarios. Setting boundaries is a skill that can be practiced and refined at any time.
While your boundaries may involve other people, they’re for you to follow. They often require a degree of commitment and in some cases, the ability to sacrifice personal pleasures and wishes. For example, you might also set a boundary for yourself around a particular goal or hobby, like passing on other opportunities to move the needle forward on a project. If you have a boundary that you won’t work past a certain time, it’s up to you to stick to that regardless of what might be asked of you.
When it comes to work-life balance and especially new (or renewed) boundaries, preparing for the transition in all directions will equip you for success. We’ve got some tips to stay well along the way!
Anticipate New Conversations
Maintaining and enforcing boundaries requires plenty of “no’s” and uncomfortable conversations. Understanding why these new boundaries are important for you and your wellbeing will guide you when you feel tested or need to make a difficult decision. If it feels right for you, feel free to be transparent in conversations about your journey and why the "xyz boundary" is now in place.
If you tend to feel guilty when putting yourself first, remember that this is about you and your wellbeing. In some ways, boundaries can feel selfish when they're a matter of self-perseverance. They don’t have to disrupt existing relationships and commitments, though. Seek support from a professional mental health expert and your community if you anticipate struggling with maintaining boundaries and relationships.
Create A Space That Makes Both "Shifts" Feel Good
Whether you commute to a workplace or log on remotely, it's important to craft a space that works for you. Your living space should feel safe, comfortable, and reflective of who you are. A space that suits your many facets, duties, and hobbies seamlessly meshes a realistic work-home balance into your life.
Create a space that allows you to enjoy your leisure time and rest. Likewise, if you work from home, maintaining a dedicated space that maximizes your productivity and keeps your brain engaged is crucial. A home that grants you the freedom to fully "check out" from work responsibilities will empower you to adhere to your personal limits and obtain an ideal balance with fewer obstacles.
Keep Your Values Close
It's easier to follow through on your agreements when they genuinely align with your values. It’s helpful to list the core values that guide your life's decisions and goals, then build boundaries around those principles. Values can shift or transform over time, and the top 3-5 values in your life likely show up at work and home.
A few examples of boundaries that stem from personal values would be:
- Community + Loyalty >> Setting aside one night each week for quality time with family or friends.
- Sustainable Practices >> Turning down projects and shifts outside of your limits.
- Hard Work Ethic >> Prioritizing efficiency + diligence during your workday.
- Honesty >> Speaking your mind when something interferes with your agreements.
Ultimately, these guiding markers support the journey and lead the way when facing conflict surrounding your needs. Hold them close as you make decisions and navigate new territory.
Find Inspiration In Your Greenery
Plants follow natural cycles, even under indoor care. Their changing needs are certain and undeniable. Any caretaker knows firsthand how a plant suffers when steered outside of its parameters. Similarly, when humans forego innate needs and desires, we endure distress at varying levels. Both species are great at adapting to the immediate environment and circumstances. When unchecked, this survival mechanism eventually fails and shows up externally.
Plants are astoundingly resilient and at the same time, require gentleness and detailed attention. Most houseplants have needs that change with the seasons, just as humans do. Mother nature gives us plenty of validation and inspiration to draw from when we need to figure out how to give ourselves grace as we transform + grow.