Happy Early Thanksgiving! What a beautiful week to talk about the topic for today: the ever-elusive boundaries.

How do you feel about boundaries? Are you good at setting them?  I had a really tough time with this, and perhaps because of my challenges boundaries have become one of my greatest teachers.

This post will be short because I know you’ve got a lot to do before taking off for the holiday. Boundaries are an integral step in the Corporate Detox, and this break is a great time to invest a bit in yourself by identifying where you might be missing healthy boundaries at work.

The sneakiest part of setting healthy boundaries is that in order to set a boundary, you have to actually know what you need. It sounds so ridiculous to say, but my biggest problem is always not giving myself the time or space to determine what’s going to make ME happy. This is not just a disservice to ourselves. It’s actually impossible for your boss, company, or community to provide something if we don’t know that we need it.

Family holidays are a minefield for this reason alone. We all get caught up in travel, traditions, and family dynamics – without stopping to look at what we really need and what would bring the most joy during these times.

To start, we’re going to use the list you created in the exercise from the Name the Beast post. While we are starting with the list of issues from work, you can use this practice for any list of grievances. If what’s coming up for you right now are concerns about family or the holiday, make a list of those issues and go through the same steps. You can always come back to your work list later. Whatever list you choose, the next phase is to discover the missing boundaries.

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brené Brown

Boundary Discovery:

  1. To start, review the list you made for completeness and add feelings to it that may be missing. For example, where I wrote that I felt overworked and undervalued I could add (tired, not seen, constant anxiety, etc.) to the side of that item.
  2. From there, brainstorm about each issue to see what you are holding back from yourself. To use the same example, I was holding back praise from myself. I was holding back time from myself because I wasn’t valuing the time for me as highly as I valued time in the office. Write this all down as it relates to the issue you’re reviewing.
  3. Take the thing that you were holding back from yourself, and give it to you in the form of a boundary. If you hold that thing sacred as a boundary, you will stop holding it back from yourself! Write out whatever comes to you as it relates to this issue. In the example we’re working with, I created a boundary for the time I would stay in the office. No matter what was going on, I would give myself the hours after 6pm. At first, it was just on principle. However, the space to do something for myself turned into healthier eating, more activities with loved ones, and time to explore other things that interest me.
  4. Create an agreement that solidifies the boundary. Here is a sample list of some agreements to get your creative juices flowing:
  • I will give myself my lunch hour to do with it as I please, as long as it’s away from my desk. (This is a great boundary for giving yourself a break during the day. That break might be used for lunch, to get your nails done, to run an errand, or to get a workout in. You may not do anything productive during that hour, but taking it back for yourself can feel so good.)
  • I will disconnect from email from 5pm until I am back in the office the next day. (This is a great boundary if you find thoughts of work consuming the rest of your day once you leave the office.)
  • I will give myself permission to be truly off when I am off by setting an out-of-office and truly not engaging while I am out. (I love this for the Thanksgiving holiday. Some of you may be great at this, but I really have a hard time disconnecting for holidays and vacation. If you don’t already, try putting an out-of-office on your email and not checking it for the entire time you’re out. I will be re-deploying this one on Wednesday!)

Once you’ve worked your way through these steps – Voila! Now you have a start to creating healthy boundaries where they have been missing. Only you know what agreements you need to put in place for yourself, so please do yourself this favor before the madness that is the holiday season takes over!

A word of warning: It will be VERY hard to keep these agreements with yourself at first. That’s ok. Keep going back to them.  One of the reasons I love starting this process in the fall is that you have the next 3 months to practice them.  That will leave you feeling very grounded before we move into a new year.

There you go!  A quick start guide to what I promise will be an incredible lifeline.  I hope you have a fantastic week and a joyous Thanksgiving!

Last week, I gave a sneak peek of a really special project I’ve been working on for you.  It’s called The Corporate Detox Retreat.  If you’d like to know what it’s all about, email me or comment below that you’re interested. I can’t wait to share this process with you LIVE and in community in 2018!