What are Healthy Boundaries – Kristi Horner – Courage to Caregivers
Healthy boundaries have always been an important part of self-care, but in these weird, pandemic days of sheltering-in-place, many of us may be feeling uneasy about the boundaries we are having to maintain just to stay safe.
That’s how I felt this week as we celebrated my sister’s birthday and her talents at an opening for her most recent artwork. As we maintained our physical distancing, the time came for my two sisters and me to take a picture together, and it was heartbreaking. All I wanted to do was give both of my sisters a big hug, but I couldn’t.
We understood that our physical distancing would help keep us healthy, but as I say about so many things when it comes to self-care, it was hard.
Even in so-called normal times, maintaining healthy boundaries can be hard. But it’s a necessity for self-care, whether they’re mental, physical, or emotional boundaries. According to PsychCentral.com, mental boundaries apply to our thoughts, values, and opinions; physical boundaries pertain to our personal space, privacy, and body; and emotional boundaries involve separating our emotions from someone else’s. Healthy boundaries can protect you from feeling guilty for someone else’s negative feelings or problems, or from taking others’ comments personally.
Here are some ways to set and maintain healthy boundaries:
- Examine your current boundaries (or lack of boundaries) with significant people in your life.
- Say “no” to something you don’t want to do or that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to explain or justify the “no.”
- Use “I” language. Talk about how you feel, not how someone else is making you feel. Say, “I need a few minutes alone after work,” instead of saying, “You have to stop bothering me as soon as I get home from work.”
- You may need to set consequences if the other person is unwilling to respect the boundary, but you must be willing to follow through, or the boundary is useless.
- Recognize not only your own boundaries but also the boundaries of others, and strive to respect and honor those boundaries.
Now more than ever, no one should judge us about the boundaries we set to make us comfortable. We need to be respectful of each other and the boundaries that keep all of us healthy – you, me, and those we love.
Founder and Executive Director
Courage to Caregivers