Ooh, boundaries – they are so so important! Let’s chat about the significance of maintaining boundaries, and why they are so essential to wellbeing.
As some of you may know, I was recently travelling quite a bit for work. Now that I’ve returned to Toronto, I’m having to get back in to the routine of being home. While I was travelling, and even the process of coming back to a “regular” routine, I found that I really struggled with boundaries. We’ll dive in to how these boundaries came up on the road, and how I’ve (mostly) adjusted coming back home.
Boundaries on the road
While on the road and travelling for work, it can be very easy for work to become a bit all-consuming. Since work is my primary focus during that time and I don’t have the comforts or connections from home, that focus tends to become even more heightened. I also hadn’t travelled for work in a couple of years due to the pandemic, so in many ways, it felt like I was re-discovering who I was in a travel sense, what my habits were, and what worked for me. I’ll be honest, it was a challenge. I was hopeful that I would be able to stay healthy and active on the road, but that was one of the most difficult parts for me. I found that I often felt very tired after long days of work/travelling, and didn’t have the energy to do much else. Though I may have wanted my focus to be a bit different, honouring how I felt and giving myself permission to rest also became very important for me.
As time went on, I was able to ease into things a bit more and get a grasp on how a more balanced approach would feel. Eventually, I was able to lean on my boundaries a bit more to create this balance. One of the things I did was implementing a hard stop of work, especially if it was tasks that were not urgent and could be done the next day. In addition, this hard stop of work meant I had the opportunity to enjoy more of my travels, which was a wonderful luxury. Forcing myself to stop working so I could enjoy a dinner out, for example, was one instance where a boundary was beneficial for my health and wellbeing. Even when we are travelling for work, it’s still important to find those moments of self-care and honour ourselves as people. We aren’t machines and shouldn’t be operating like one! By the time I got to my last week on the road, I was leaning into this quite heavily and gave myself lots of time and space to enjoy my travels and stick to these boundaries even more.
Boundaries at home
Returning was an entirely different ball game. Having gotten used to being on the road, in some respects, I now had to switch my mindset completely and adjust to being back home on a hybrid work schedule (some time in-office, some time at-home work). This presented an entirely new set of challenges. I think I may have found it even more challenging because I really was only in Toronto for a month before I left, so overall, I still had some adjusting to do to living in Toronto.
Having all of these changes at once meant boundaries were once again, extremely important. Set times for work was essential, but I found that a bit easier since I was on a bit more of a regular work schedule due to not travelling. This meant I had more of an opportunity to focus on aspects outside of work and determine what priorities I wanted. Fun, right? I was doing my best to get back to healthy living, something I felt I had lacked while on the road. Clean eating, exercise, journalling, mental health check-ins – all of these felt very important to me and I wanted to prioritize them. At the same time, being able to explore and make new connections as I continued to adjust to living in Toronto also felt necessary.
It did feel difficult for me to balance these aspects; truthfully, I focused mostly on myself, as I often feel that this is a necessary starting point. Every now and then, though, I did try to push myself outside of my comfort zone by exploring somewhere new or making a new friend. Having been in Toronto for a full month now without travelling, I am definitely still in the thick of it and trying to determine what balance is best for me, and how strict I need to be with certain boundaries. One specific boundary that I continue to focus on is being careful with who I interact with and who has access to me. I am very conscious about the time and energy I put in to my relationships and actively seek out spaces where that energy is reciprocated.
As we head into December, I am continually re-assessing my boundaries and what feels the best for me at each point in time. Thankfully, I will be taking quite a bit of time off this winter, which I hope will be very helpful to do some re-assessing and adjust boundaries as needed. I always have to remind myself that boundaries can shift and change over time as your priorities and lifestyle change – and that’s okay. Honouring what feels best for you in the moment is what matters. This is something I will continue to work towards, especially as we enter the holiday season.
If you have a situation in where you feel your boundaries beginning to fluctuate, know that as long as you continue to do what is right for you, you will be okay. Setting those boundaries, and sticking to them, is crucial to preserve your own peace. However, there are some times when adjustments need to be made. Give yourself grace during these times and know that you will always be the best-equipped person to determine what choices will benefit your wellbeing – so trust yourself to make those choices.
I would love to hear your thoughts on boundaries, particularly as we head into the holidays, which can be a time where many people’s boundaries are tested! Share your thoughts below in the comments section or DM us on Instagram 🙂