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Avoid Burnout Tip – Balancing Your Boundaries

June 18, 2010

If you are continually angry, upset, or complaining about someone or something, you probably need to set a boundary.

When setting a limit with someone, state it clearly, without anger, in as few words as possible.

Don’t set a boundary unless you’re prepared to maintain it.

-Working With You Is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself From Emotional Traps At Work   by Katherine Crowley & Kathi Elster

Maybe the discomfort is with a co-worker, or maybe it’s with someone else. It doesn’t really matter who – if you are showing signs of distress, you need to set some boundaries.

Crowley & Elster recommend a few steps to beginning the boundary setting process.  First you should ‘unhook’ from the situation.  In other words, don’t just react.

  1. Calm down physically by releasing tension and calming your nervous system (meditation and visualization are excellent tools here)
  2. Mentally step outside of yourself and the situation and take a good, objective look at it.  Think about your options in setting boundaries.
  3. Once you settle upon a boundary you want to set, you need to communicate that  to anyone who needs to know, especially the person who is involved in creating the discomfort.
  4. Walk your talk.  Hold yourself and the other person accountable for respecting the boundary.

It takes awhile to get used to doing this, but you can handle it.  With practice it will become second nature.

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