Another area of boundaries to pay attention to is that of time. These can be boundaries we hold for others or time boundaries we hold for ourselves. Here is what these boundaries might look like:
Time boundaries relating to others
Do you ever feel like your time isn’t your own? Do you ever feel like you don’t know where the time has gone or wonder why that thing you were going to do for yourself didn’t quite happen? Well, perhaps you aren’t respecting your time as the sacred thing that it is. I strongly believe that time is a precious resource that needs to be considered and respected. If we don’t do this we can end up burning out or simply not doing the things that are most important to us.
I appreciate there can be limitations when it comes to setting time boundaries with others. If we are a parent or a carer for a sick relative, for instance, it can be difficult to make sure we have time for ourselves. Although it sounds like a a cliché it is important to remember that we cannot look after others properly unless we look after ourselves too.
When it comes to time boundaries with others, things we may want to consider or put in place include:
- We may wish to limit or even stop spending time with certain people if they drain us.
- If there is someone in our life who is consistently late or doesn’t turn up we may wish to address this.
- If there are tasks we regularly do for other people that they could actually do for themselves it could be more empowering for them and certainly better for us if they take over the task.
Time boundaries with ourselves
Ensuring good time boundaries with ourselves can be even more slippery. There are certain unnecessary things we do that may be a drain on our time and therefore our energy. Here are a few things to look out for:
- The obvious one is around social media. Be honest with yourself, how much time do you waste depressing yourself with photos of other people’s holidays or pointless clickbait articles about celebrities you don’t care about?
- Sometimes we might need that extra time in bed instead of going for that walk / swim / writing session in the morning before starting work. Sometimes, however, we might not be doing ourselves any favours. Being kind to ourselves might not always mean doing the thing that feels nice or cosy, kindness on some days might be dragging ourselves out of bed.
- Sadly, some of us might spend an inordinate amount of time worrying or procrastinating. You are not alone and it can be a very difficult pattern to get out of. The important thing is to be kind to yourself. Do not beat yourself up further because you do this. Respect that this worry or procrastination can come from a place of real fear or difficulty. Say something like ‘Yes, I know I’m worried and that is a very natural thing but now I would really like to visit my friend / finish my project / go for a walk….’
Time boundaries can be a key aspect of living the life that we want and deserve. It can be amazing how beneficial it can be to reflect on and implement time boundaries with others or oneself and I hope that this has given some ideas as to how this can be done.