Boundary Setting is Critical to Your Well-Being & Success

In our last blog post, we explored the topic of self-care and offered a list of self-reflective questions to help you define what self-care means to you based on your own needs, priorities, and overall well-being. Question #7 on that list was do you set boundaries in your personal and professional life?

In this week’s blog we are going to dive deeper into the topic of boundary-setting as it is a form of self-care. Boundaries help us create clear guidelines, rules, and limits of how we would like to be treated and what we are willing to accept and not accept in certain circumstances.

What are Boundaries?

Boundaries, in the context of personal and professional relationships, refer to the limits and guidelines that individuals establish to define what is acceptable to them as it relates to behavior, interactions, and expectations. 

Boundaries can exist on various levels, and it is a way for individuals to communicate their needs, protect their well-being, and establish a framework for healthy relationships. In short, boundaries help you define what you are comfortable with and how you would like to be treated by others.

Here are some common types of boundaries:

  • Mental Boundaries: This means protecting your mental energy and applying it to the things that matter most to you. Whenever you experience an interruption, or attend an unnecessary meeting or event, you waste valuable time and attention that could be directed elsewhere. We only have so much time in a day, so it pays to be selective and purposeful when it comes to your time and attention.
  • Physical Boundaries: These boundaries involve personal space, touch, and physical interactions. For example, an individual may set limits on how close others can stand or sit next to them, or what their comfort level is with a hug vs. a handshake. You decide what you are most comfortable with and what will honor your own level of comfort.
  • Emotional Boundaries: Emotional boundaries are limits you place on the energy and emotions you will both give and are willing to receive in relationships. Emotional boundaries pertain to one's feelings, thoughts, and emotional well-being. Individuals may establish limits on sharing personal information, managing criticism, or dealing with the emotional needs of others. Setting emotional boundaries means separating your emotions from others’ emotions, and being clear with yourself about what you are willing to give and accept from others and what you offer in return.  

When we establish emotional boundaries, it enables us to listen empathetically without taking on someone else’s feelings, thoughts, and emotions. As a coach and consultant, I establish clear emotional boundaries in my professional relationships with my clients. My role is to help empower, guide, and support them, not take on their emotions and challenges.  When I over-care or give too much (as I am a people person after all), I am sometimes left feeling emotionally hijacked or emotionally exhausted. Honor your own emotions by being clear with how much you are willing to give of yourself to others and how much you are willing to receive. There is a fine line between being helpful and taking on someone else’s “stuff”.

  • Time Boundaries: Time boundaries involve how individuals allocate their time for work, leisure, family, personal activities, spirituality etc. Setting limits on work hours, scheduling downtime, and maintaining a work-life balance are examples of time boundaries. 

We commonly use the phrase work life balance or life balance, but what we are really defining is how much time we will allocate for work and other areas of our lives that are important to us. You need to define what those categories or areas are for you as they will differ from individual to individual. Then you need to establish realistic goals or expectations around the amount of time you will spend in each of these areas.

  • Professional Boundaries: In a professional context, boundaries relate to the appropriate conduct, communication, and relationships within the workplace. Most organizations have established standards by creating a “code of ethics” or “code of conduct.” These standards provide a set of guidelines, rules, and policies that define the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors of employees in the workplace. They help protect the organization and the people inside the company.

This is an interesting category as the lines can sometimes become blurred with the depth of relationships we build in our respective workplaces. I often hear my clients refer to their company culture as being a “family.” That is the upside of working with great people. The opportunity to become friends with workmates can be very rewarding, but we must remember that it was business that brought you together in the first place.  

  • Social Media Boundaries: With the prevalence of social media, individuals often set boundaries on what they share online, who has access to their profiles, and how they engage with others on the various platforms. It is up to you to decide what is best for you and respect the boundaries that others have established for themselves.  

Setting healthy boundaries starts by being self-aware about who you are, what your needs are, and what you value most in life. It is a dynamic process that requires ongoing communication and adjustments as we grow and mature, both personally and professionally. Establishing healthy boundaries will foster a life for ourselves where we feel psychologically safe, seen, and understood by others.

Have You Established Boundaries for Yourself?

What are your thoughts on this topic of boundaries? Have you established any boundaries in your life that have been helpful?

We want to hear your thoughts, so please reach out and email me at or call me on 416 560 1806 to share your thoughts.

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