Know Your Boundaries. Illustration DesignThis month we are talking about work/life harmony (known by many people as “work/life balance.”) Please see last week’s article titled: “Balance is a Farce.”

There are two types of boundaries you need at work; emotional and physical. Boundaries protect you from others and boundaries protects other from you.

Boundaries protect you from others and boundaries protect others from you. Click To Tweet


Emotional Boundaries

Emotional boundaries are needed with people who want to use you as their sounding board:

  • They bring their home life to work and then need someone to unload on.
  • They have complaints at work and need someone to hear all about their issues.
  • Some people have nothing in their life that ever goes right and they want you to know how difficult life is for them.

Being a listening ear for others can drag you down – way down. You can enter a depressive state. When this happens, your will have less motivation and can take it home to your family.

This can get even worse if it continues often because you may start to believe that life isn’t fair for you either. You can become unappreciative of your blessings and even begin to experience physical ailments.

I know people who live on the “woe is me train.” I do my best to give them time and input, but I have to monitor myself closely. I’ve experienced the emotional changes that can occur if I allow myself to get dragged in and dragged down by their ongoing negativity. It’s not healthy, nor is it fair to those around me when I don’t adhere to good boundaries in these situations.


Another emotional strain at work can be people in positions of leadership who do not have a “people first” mentality. When the people who lead are too focused on the bottom line, or perhaps their next promotion, it can suck the vitality out of you.

You may not be able to do anything about the people you work for. You can stay aware that people are their number one asset whether they recognize this truth or not.  Be intentional:

  • Use positive affirmations, quotes or phrases around your workspace.
  • Engage co-workers in encouraging and lifting one another up.
  • Remember that the leaders are under a lot of pressure; grant them grace and pray for them to see beyond the pressures placed on them.
  • It may be time to consider appropriate discussions if attitudes begin to negatively impact you.


Save Others from You

Check yourself to see if you are violating the time or space of others:

  • You too can bring your problems to work and expect others to listen.
  • Perhaps you are not taking too much time from others, but is what you are sharing appropriate? Could you be making someone uncomfortable?

Are you doing your part to nurture relationships and to lift others up?

  • If you are in a position of leading others, make certain you are placing value in those who look to your leadership.
  • Communicate often and clearly.

Many boundary issues are due to a lack of understanding. It is not the job of other people to assume what your boundaries are. It is your job to make sure you’ve made your boundaries understood.


Physical Boundaries

You may need to put up a sign to indicate when you are NOT available. If someone shows no common courtesy in respecting your time, you have to do something.  You must demonstrate that it is NOT okay to come into your work space anytime they want to.

When your time is not protected, you will become stressed as deadlines approach and the workload stays high. You cannot allow your load to increase because someone is violating your boundaries.

Needless to say, boundaries must be adhered to when it comes to inappropriate words or physical gestures. These instances must be dealt with immediately.


Work, Work and More Work

Let’s talk about work environments that do not respect the fact that you have a life outside of work. Frankly, this is just unacceptable. 

Granted, there are times when the workload is high because demand is up and it’s a temporary situation. However, if “temporary” becomes ongoing, with no end in sight; you will need to assess your options.

If an employer shows no regard for your overall well-being, it’s definitely time to address boundaries. This can be scary for obvious reasons, but the situation will only get worse the longer things go unaddressed.

If you don’t make your boundaries clear, your employer will assume you are okay with their expectations.


[stextbox id=”custom” bwidth=”3″ color=”FAFEFF” bcolor=”8C6727″ bgcolor=”50C7C3″ bgcolorto=”50C7C3″]Teach these things, as you use your full authority to encourage and correct people. Make sure you earn everyone’s respect. ~ Titus 2:15 (MSG)[/stextbox]


Setting Boundaries at Work:

1. Know what you value
2. Assess the needed boundaries to stay aligned with what you value
3. Determine what boundaries you are able and willing to stick to (be realistic)
4. Determine what you will do if your boundaries are violated (be prepared)

5. Communicate your boundaries (don’t assume people know)
6. Stay true to your boundaries (if you don’t respect your boundaries neither will anyone else)
7. Deal with violations appropriately


Talking about the need for “things to change” (really, the need for boundaries) is very common.  Living true to boundaries is a whole other ballgame.  While many situations can make boundaries seem too difficult; don’t believe it.

If you truly want harmony between your work, home and all areas of your life; boundaries are not an option.  I get the anxiety and overwhelm that can hit when you think about implementing boundaries. 


You don’t have to do it on your own!

Reach out TODAY and let’s discuss what you need to achieve work/life harmony.







Debbie Luxton

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