Like boundaries with family, boundaries at work can be incredibly tricky, especially if you have a boss pushing you to do more when you are already at capacity. With work, the ultimate threat is that you will be fired, which speaks directly to our need to feel SAFE. If our job is threatened, who knows how long we will be out of work and what will that mean? Cue overwhelming anxiety and stepping over our boundaries.
When we feel unsafe, one of the first things we need to do is to create psychological safety within ourselves.
This might sound like:
I will tell my boss that I won’t be able to meet the deadline he has set. I will explain it so he can understand, and together we will work out the next best option. This is not something I am going to get fired over. I am safe.
I might even write this out on a piece of paper and keep repeating it to myself.
With work boundaries, our mental health is at risk. People don’t get burnout while they are on holiday; they get burnout at work, which is why it is so important to have clear boundaries with work from the start.
The other issue with work boundaries is work culture. What do you do when EVERYONE checks their emails and is available over the weekend? You have to assess what is right for you. Was this requirement made clear to you when you started? How do others feel about it? Is it essential for your work that you are available? Are you compensated for it?
As with any boundary, every situation is different, and you are invited to change the boundaries above to suit you and your current work. Maybe write a list of your work boundaries. If you feel yourself stepping over them, get curious.
Much love on your healing journey