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This Is Why Setting Personal And Professional Boundaries Is Good For Your Health

80% of chronic disease is caused by lifestyle-related issues, setting boundaries empowers you in the other direction of these kinds of health statistics.

19/06/2017 03:59 SAST | Updated 19/06/2017 06:28 SAST
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Having the courage to set boundaries can sometimes mean the difference between a stressful day, job, experience and an empowering one. Boundaries come in many forms, with the most identifiable as personal and professional.

Personal Boundaries

These are the boundaries we set within and between our personal relationships. They are the spaces within which we allow things to happen or within which we participate with our own and others behaviour. Personal boundaries define how we allow ourselves to be treated (again, by others, and by ourselves).

Setting personal boundaries can be crucial to how we grow within our own self-esteem. If we feel disempowered by the relationships around us, our self-esteem suffers. A low self-esteem can impact everything from our health to our eating habits, to our stress levels and our personal relationships, as well as how achievable we feel our goals are. Many times, finding power comes in the form of one simple word. No.

When Oprah Winfrey turned 40, she said the most wonderful thing about it was that she learned how to say, NO. She learned, or rather finally garnered the courage to set personal boundaries within which she was going to work. She had the courage to look at, realise and structure boundaries around things which brought empowerment to her experience, distinguishing between those which drained her. She learned it was okay to recognise the importance of health and well-being, and that being able to use that one simple word in a healthy capacity reduced her stress levels.

Parenting, responsibilities, work or even social obligations (and most importantly how we perceive our roles in these circumstances) can waver the strength of our boundaries. In fact, many times, as we are all learning about ourselves and our limits as we go, we don't even know what our boundaries are when new situations arise.

What are your boundaries? Do you know what they are? Do you have a healthy relationship with, No? A healthy No allows strength to emerge from within – it allows you space (in thought, breath, mind, body) to move toward being or to be your best self – as well as to thrive within your personal and professional relationships: as a parent, as an employee, as a manager, as a person.

Professional Boundaries

Professional boundaries can feel complicated due to the hierarchy of authority in majority workplaces. There are aspects of professional boundaries that you, however, can control. Like how you structure your time. 'Instant' environments at work, can lead to increased feelings of pressure and stress, impacting negatively on our health and well-being. So, as always, where does your power lie?

If you are in the middle of writing a report and an email comes in with another request, followed by a text, followed immediately by a phone call – what do you do? Our Instant environments make us feel like we need to answer and tend to all requests that cross our communication path, at the same time (the Instant environment can also have an effect of making people inconsiderately immediate in wanting their requests tended to).

This is where boundaries come in. Setting the clock, for example, can mean the difference between a stressful day that feels as if majority tasks were left incomplete, and one that produced results or that was at least participatory in achieving an end goal.

An example:

8-9am – review tasks for the day, answer emails

(1 minute of stretching)

9-10am – meetings

(1 minute of stretching)

10-12 – work on reports

Lunch with a minute of stretching before you head back to the desk

1-2 – return messages

(1 minute of stretching)

2-4 – work on reports

(Stretch between hours)

4-5 – answer emails, wind down, lay out tasks for the next day

This sample is flexible, but you get the idea.

It gives you control. You need boundaries that feed your strengths and maximise your ability to perform – not compromise them.

Learning to set healthy personal and professional boundaries puts you on a road to better health and well-being, and can help decrease stress levels. When we consider that 80 percent of chronic disease is caused by lifestyle-related issues, setting personal boundaries is a simple way to empower yourself in the other direction of those kinds of health statistics.

Stay healthy!