Having healthy boundaries is important. I’m noticing more and more throughout this pandemic friends and acquaintances are getting taken advantage of at work due to the lack of physical boundaries between work and home- especially if they’re salaried employees and not hourly.
What do boundaries mean to you? How are yours respected? How do you tell others you need boundaries? How do you know when a boundary is violated or needs amending?
Establishing boundaries is hard with ADHD. Even giving boundaries to yourself may be necessary to help with hyper focusing tunnel vision. Boundaries can be physical, emotional, personal, or based on time and space. Without boundaries we can experience burnout, anxiety, poor sleep, and depression.
Let’s talk first about setting time boundaries for ourselves. This can mitigate the burnout that can come from hyper focusing on a project for too long. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Taking our time and by setting specific time related boundaries for ourselves can help maintain quality of work and keep the excitement alive for the work.
Now let’s talk about physical boundaries. Physical boundaries can mean how close you are comfortable having people around you (in these days let’s not push it past 6 feet), what is acceptable behavior in a certain space, or how you like a certain space being used. Setting up some physical boundaries for work can be particularly helpful. Having a designated area for work can help one get “in the mood” to get focused and feel more productive. I would encourage you to not bring your work to bed and respect the physical boundary of what the bed is for. When you bring your work to bed, you can start to bring those stressful work feelings to bed with you, even when you aren’t working (and we all know how hard sleeping is already).
Emotional boundaries are tricky to express because feelings are so… personal. There’s also a lot of, sort of, double standards. What may be okay for one friend to say or do to you could be a total boundary violation if done by someone else. Like it’s acceptable for your significant other to say, “I love you” bit it can cause problems if a coworker, or stranger on the street says it. That’s an extreme example, I know. It’s like that thing people say, “I can be around so-and-so for small amounts of time, but not large amounts of time.” How do you know what emotional boundaries you need from people? What does it look like when someone is breaking that boundary? It’s also important to acknowledge your emotional boundaries when you are actually emotionally available, and have energy, and when you do not. Sometimes we just aren’t in a good headspace to help a friend with a problem, or learn anything new, and need to take some time. As they say, “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
Asking for boundaries is hard. Full stop.
It can be hard to tell your boss that they need to respect your time, and just because you are working from home and have access to a computer 24/7, doesn’t mean you are on the clock 24/7. If you were at a physical office would they expect you to be on call 24/7? How do you let them know they are taking advantage of you? How do you communicate what you are comfortable with? What is the new job description now that you’re working from home? It also may be worth finding out if they are violating any sort of labor laws in your area, just in case your boss is severely taking serious advantage.
It’s hard to tell a friend or family member you need space. How do you do it without hurting their feelings? Does it matter if their actions are hurting your feelings? Do you think they would like to know? What’s the best and worst thing that could happen by being honest with them? I mean, if you were violating a loved ones boundaries, would you want to know?
How long can you go on with your current boundaries?