Setting boundaries to yourself and your environment

Postdate: 04 January 2018

With a high work pressure the temptation is big to let someone cross your boundaries. This can result in a lot of unpleasant consequences, like chronical stress. This stress can result in sleepless nights and even a burn-out. You should realise you cannot keep everyone happy.


The consequences of prolonged stress are severe. You may get exhausted and you may found yourself calling in sick more frequently. It does not always have to result in a burn-out, but there are personal characteristics coherent with. If you are often ambitious, a perfectionist, insecure, and or very responsible, you are more likely to end up in a burn-out than others. You may be caught up in work at cost of your free time and social life. You feel a constant pressure to perform, you may often have the feeling you fail and you worry a lot. Think about the loss of concentration and motivation, mood swings, and physical pains. You often experience a feeling of apathy and tiredness. Also a high blood pressure and heartbeat often occur. Negative feelings, such as melancholia, panic, and fear influence your functioning. Do not ignore those signals. Besides high work pressure they also can be caused by conflicts, bullying and a lack of appreciation within a team. The beliefs of the organisation could have changed, and may no longer connect to you.

‘Good people are like candles, they burn themselves up to give others light’

Drawing boundaries

You must first know when you cross a specific boundary, in order to specify them. Train yourself to note these moments down for 1 or 2 weeks; only after this you have a clear pattern of your boundaries that you can also present to others. With important matters you can ask for time to think, or just say ‘no’. Try not to multitask if you are sensitive to too many sensations because it will be at cost of your concentration. Draw a circle and write down the matters you can control, and draw another smaller circle within with the things you cannot control. It gives you insight to what you can and cannot change. Be conscious about your breathing, because one feature of stress is that you breathe short and fast. Learn to recognize your boundaries and realise that drawing your boundaries does not happen in a day: it is a process. Drawing boundaries starts with awareness. When and what causes you to experience stress? Look critically to your tasks en the expectations of others, but also the demands you ask yourself. Dare to say no! Standing up for yourself brings you more than staying silent, thinking it will pass.

awareness     burn-outs     drawing boundaries     stress     work pressure    

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