In a previous post titled “Epiphany” I briefly discussed setting limits on the amount of time I spent working from home in order to find a balance between my home and work life. In today’s day and age, there is no such thing as “leaving work at work”. Most people work from home after their scheduled work hours in order to meet their work demands. Some catch up on replying to emails, others catch up on notes. However, if the working from home component does not incorporate emails and notes, rather, the emotional work that is entailed from a difficult day, how does one separate the two? In order to maintain self-care and avoid accelerated burnout, limits HAVE to be put in place. We teach our clients how to create and maintain limits, so why not for ourselves? I think it’s because we’re putting limits ON ourselves rather than on the behaviour of others. It’s directed towards ourselves. With that being said, what’s one of the first things we suggest to clients when setting boundaries? We tell them to “begin small”, thus, we too need to begin small. For me, beginning small means setting a specific amount of time allotted to venting about my day, maintaining confidentiality, of course. This way, once that timer has gone off, I have to change topics and move on. I find that if I don’t give myself enough time though, that it remains with me. A good rule of thumb would be to set aside a reasonable amount of time that works for you- perhaps 15 minutes? Again, this is subjective. You don’t want to spend an hour ruminating about your day or a difficult client as it will just perpetuate resentment and/or other negative feelings. Similarly, five minutes may not be enough time either. It should be just enough to get whatever is weighing you down out of your system and then move forward with your day. Another suggestion to beginning small is by writing in a journal. Because of the sensitivity of our work and confidentiality concerns, it is important to note that anything that is written in the journal should not include any identifiable information. I recommend just writing down short sentences or one to two words that describe how you felt that day. I also feel that a good idea is to refrain from writing the specific date down. I say withhold the date because there is no real purpose to this. Why look back at the journal only to remember a difficult day if the date is present? It would not be constructive. Remember, the purpose is to set limits for ourselves in order to maintain self-care. I hope these tips work for you. If you have any others that you would like to share, please do comment.
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA