The new year marks a fresh start for many people. It is an opportunity to evaluate the past year and set our intentions for the new year. While we focus on our new resolutions or goals, it’s also important to consider the boundaries we want to set for ourselves along the way. Boundaries are limits that we set for ourselves and they can apply to many different areas of life. Setting healthy boundaries is a great way to check in with ourselves and decide how we can best take care of our mental health. The start of the new year is a great time to pause and evaluate which boundaries we want to set for ourselves.
The Benefits of Healthy Boundaries
There are many benefits of setting boundaries for ourselves. Here are just a few:
- Boundaries help us to have good mental and emotional health.
- Being able to say “no” allows us to say “yes” to other things we are interested in.
- It helps us avoid burnout.
- It’s good practice for being honest with ourselves and assertive with others.
- Boundaries can help us to feel less stressed or anxious.
Healthy Boundaries to Set in 2021
Do you know what your boundaries are in your relationship with your partner? Or your relationships with family and friends? Take some time to evaluate when you may need to set boundaries for personal space, time or types of interactions in each of your relationships. Once you decide what boundaries you want to set in your relationships, the next step is to communicate them clearly and kindly. This also gives the other person an opportunity to share their boundaries with you as well. And know that it’s completely okay if you decide to change how you feel about your boundaries at any time too.
Work or School Boundaries
Are you feeling overwhelmed with school or work? While it’s important that we get our various tasks or assignments done, it’s also important to give ourselves breaks to rest and focus on self-care. One way we can set boundaries with our work or school is by designating hours where we are “out of office” (even if it’s just virtually) and give ourselves downtime separate from those obligations. We can also set boundaries for work if we feel like we can’t take on anything more at the moment. In this case, it is best to communicate those boundaries with the people you work with. By doing so, they’ll know how they can accommodate for you or delegate tasks elsewhere.
Screen Time Boundaries
Another area where we can benefit from setting boundaries is with our technology use. It has become so easy to find ourselves glued to our phone or computer for hours on end, mindlessly scrolling. Less time devoted to our screens means more time to focus on our mental health, being active, other hobbies, and our relationships. There are many ways we can set boundaries with our screens. One easy way is by going into our settings and selecting screen time limits for a certain amount of time each day. Or we can set downtime, by limiting access to our apps for certain times, like the late evenings and early mornings. Consider what boundaries you want to set with your tech use. Then set whatever boundary you think is realistic and will be beneficial to you.
As we may be re-evaluating our finances at the beginning of 2021, we can also set boundaries for ourselves when it comes to spending. Think about what areas of your monthly spending that you may want to cut back on. Creating a budget is a great way to monitor this and ensure you are sticking to your boundaries.
This last example pertains to the current events we are finding ourselves living in. With the coronavirus pandemic still persisting, it’s important that we stick to our boundaries around our social interactions to keep ourselves and others safe. Widespread boundaries like wearing masks, social distancing and eliminating non-essential travel are all great boundaries to continue to keep up while we are still experiencing the effects of the pandemic. Communicate these boundaries you have with others if you need to. We can also set limits for our news consumption during this time. It will help give us a break from often upsetting headlines, when we need to devote our focus to our wellbeing.
Every aspect of our lives could use some healthy boundaries. The beginning of 2021 is the perfect time to re-evaluate what we want our boundaries to be, so that we can best take care of our mental health. What boundaries are you going to set for yourself this year?