Michael Keogh   Nov 29, 2022   -   min read

How to set healthy boundaries

Do you find yourself saying “yes” to everyone else but neglecting your own needs? Or do you always feel drained because you're always giving away your time and energy without receiving anything in return?

Setting healthy boundaries is an essential part of self-care. Sure, it’s easy to get caught up in the demands of others and wanting to be there to help everyone. But there is a cost to losing track of your own needs and desires.

When you don’t take care of yourself first your health, relationship and ability to support others suffers. So how can you learn to set better boundaries? Read below to find out!

1. What are healthy boundaries?

Healthy boundaries are those that keep you safe, sane and healthy. They’re not arbitrary or unnecessary. They’re what is needed for the relationship to thrive.

Healthy boundaries are about respecting yourself enough not to be used, abused and over-consumed by others. They’re about knowing what you need and what you don’t need. They’re about not being okay with less than you deserve.

Healthy boundaries are not about being a burden on others, or not being available when you want to be. Healthy boundaries are simply about being direct and honest with others and yourself.

When you set boundaries you’re not being selfish or rude. You’re being honest. Healthy boundaries help you to honour your own needs, feelings and desires while also respecting the needs of others.

Healthy boundaries also keep you safe so that you don’t feel unsafe or overwhelmed.

2. Why setting healthy boundaries is important?

Healthy boundaries aren’t just a good idea, they're essential. And the good news is that it doesn’t take a huge change in your life to set boundaries, all it takes is a shift in perspective. They can also have a profound impact on your health by keeping you safe from emotional and physical harm. 

Your relationships also benefit. When you take care of yourself you have more energy to connect and be there for others. Setting boundaries helps to avoid resentments, broken trust and resentment. By setting healthy boundaries you’ll also be more likely to feel more loved and valued by others. This will help to avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation. Healthy boundaries can also help you to achieve your goals more easily by freeing up your time.

3. How to set boundaries in your relationships

When you’re looking to set boundaries with a friend, teammate or family member you need to be mindful of the feelings of the other person. You also need to avoid projecting your own feelings on to them.

It’s easy to get frustrated and angry when you feel like you’re being asked to do things you don’t want to do, or that you’re asking others to do things that aren’t part of their job description. When setting boundaries with a friend or family member it’s helpful to remember that you have the same needs and wants that person does.

Setting healthy boundaries is about not asking others to do things that are unsafe or causing them harm. It can be helpful to talk to a trusted friend and ask for their advice and perspective. Your friend can let you know if what you’re doing is healthy or not.

4. How to set boundaries at work

At work, boundaries are about setting a clear line between your role at work and your personal life. This helps to avoid confusion, misunderstandings and power imbalances.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to do everything that your manager asks of you. You should never feel obligated to put in extra hours at work because they are asking you to. If your manager asks you to do something that you feel isn’t a good use of your time you should politely let them know. Setting boundaries at work can help you to feel more respected by your manager and colleagues. It can also help you to avoid feeling overwhelmed, over-stretched or over-committed.

5. It's now up to you..

Taking care of yourself is important. And the best way to do that is to set healthy boundaries with others and with yourself. Healthy boundaries are about maintaining your own boundaries while also respecting the boundaries of others.

Healthy boundaries keep you safe and allow you to focus your energy on the things that are most important to you. They can help to avoid resentment, resentment and isolation. Setting boundaries can also help you to achieve your goals easier, feel more valued and feel more loved.

Setting boundaries can be tricky at times, but it’s important that you do it.

Want some help using this information to improve your health and life?

About the Author

Michael Keogh is an Exercise Physiologist and Health Coach with 8 years experience in clinical and corporate settings. He is also the co-author of upcoming book “Thrive: How to 10X your Health, Wealth and Happiness”.

He uses exercise as medicine to treat chronic disease and ensure healthy ageing, whilst guiding his clients towards sustainable health behaviours that result in improved performance and greater satisfaction in work and life.

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