How to Achieve Work/Life Balance with Boundary-Setting
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How to Achieve Work/Life Balance with Boundary-Setting

Get tips on achieving work/life balance by setting realistic boundaries you can keep at work and with friends and family.

Published March 10, 2023

by Ashurina Ream

PMH-C licensed clinical psychologist

Working Moms Day is on March 12, which makes it a great time to start a conversation on setting healthy boundaries. Uncomfortable as it may be, your mental and physical health will thank you for it. Achieving work/life balance means implementing things that are non-negotiable and staying firm on what’s most important. According to National Day Calendar, the Working Moms of Milwaukee organization began Working Moms Day in 2020 to celebrate all working moms. In 2021, the registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed the day to be an annual national observance on March 12.1

When people don’t respect boundaries (it inevitably will happen), it can be a detriment to how you deal with coworkers and family members. You’re left with uneasy and sometimes angry feelings that need addressing once they break your boundaries. Speaking up and using appropriate language is one way to heal the damage others consciously or unconsciously do and is an excellent determiner of a relationship that is sometimes worth mending. It also sets a good example for your children on how to deal with difficult situations and respect others.

Setting Boundaries Can Be Challenging

If you’re conflict-averse, boundary setting is a challenging task. Recognizing this and giving yourself the grace to determine what defines what you will and won’t accept in the workplace and at home is essential to your well-being. The plus is that it gets easier the more you approach those disrespecting your boundaries. Staying calm and having a game plan work best.

These helpful tips can go a long way in building confidence, creating a narrative, and implementing what you’d like to see in your relationships. When you choose the right approach, they can apply to everything from the boardroom to family time. Boundary violators will be in for a big surprise!

Determine Your Non-Negotiables

For working moms, this can look like not working overtime or skipping lunch, picking up your kids from daycare on time, attending your kids’ sporting events, and avoiding getting together with friends and family during the workweek. Only you can determine what your health and lifestyle need to get the job done without compromising in and out of the home. This helps you stay present and be less anxious.

Develop Key Phrases to Use, So You’re Not Caught Off-guard

Having a category of vocabulary that’s your go-to increases your confidence and allows you to address situations as they occur, allowing you to stand your ground and keep your boundaries in check. For instance:

  • I disagree with your approach.
  • I’m not prepared to change my mind on this.
  • That’s not been my experience.
  • I’m confident in my decisions.
  • That’s not going to work for us.

Tell Your Workplace, Family, and Friends What Your Boundaries Entail

Communication is vital so all parties know when they’ve crossed the line. It’s ideal if you can state your boundaries beforehand. If that’s not possible, having the vocabulary mentioned above allows you to inform others about what you’re willing or not to do. Remaining firm but calm will help avoid conflicts and ensure your feelings are heard.

Revisit Boundaries to See If They’re Too Harsh or Lenient

We all can change our minds. That goes for our boundaries, too. Consider what your work and home lives look like and frequently adjust what’s necessary so you can continue setting the stage for a balanced lifestyle. If your work timeline changes, for example, you may need to adjust your requirements on when you’re available so it is in line with your family’s demands or school schedule. It’s always important to check in with yourself to keep those strong boundaries working.

Recognize When Others are Conscious of Your Boundaries and Offer Respect

Just as we’re alert when people cross a line, it’s just as important to recognize when others are aware of your boundaries. You could say, “Thanks for always being so mindful when I need to head out for the day to pick up my kids and not asking me to stay longer.”

Remember to care for yourself and view boundaries as a healthy, positive part of your daily life. This avoids burnout and health issues induced by stress. Boundaries are worth the effort and a necessary act of self-love.

Keep calm and carry on, you awesome working moms. You got this!

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Dr. Ashurina Ream
Ashurina Ream PMH-C licensed clinical psychologist
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Dr. Ashurina Ream, PMH-C, is a licensed clinical psychologist with advanced training in perinatal mental health. In addition to this specialty, Dr. Ream has trained in various disciplines as it… Read more

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