Senioritis is hitting along with the jarring transition from being completely online to being on campus every day. I feel like I find myself wanting to make the most of this last year on campus while also making up for the year and a half that the pandemic unjustly took from us. My desire to live this last year fully has made me a chronic “over-committer” both within organizations I am involved with on campus, in the workplace and in social settings.
In order to stay sane, I cannot overstate the importance of setting boundaries. When boundary setting comes to mind, it can often be viewed negatively and associated with limitations. I have found, however, that boundary setting—both with myself and others—has helped to keep me grounded.
When I am stressed, procrastination tends to be what I turn to in order to cope and detach. This detachment not only does not serve me but in fact only makes my anxieties worse as time goes on and deadlines grow closer. One of the boundaries I set with myself is to try and stop school and professional work after 9 p.m. every day. Sometimes I am unable to follow through with this boundary. In fact, it is 9:45 p.m. as I finish writing this article. The value of this boundary is not in its perfect success rate but rather that it is achievable most of the time. Usually, when I plan my day out and have no extra events, I am able to keep to this boundary.
Boundary and goal setting are most effective and fulfilling when they are achievable. You do yourself no favors by acting like you can do it all and setting unrealistic expectations of yourself. Boundaries help to delineate where you begin and your work or peers end. Self-respect is invaluable, and a crucial part of it is communicating your needs within yourself.
I feel like I can’t write an article on boundaries without discussing setting them in your interpersonal relationships. This breakdown of healthy boundary setting published by the University of California at Berkeley was a great self-education resource for me on boundary setting with those closest to me, co-workers and everyone in between. Your own boundary setting is just as important as listening to the boundaries of others when they voice them. If you expect someone to respect your boundaries, then it is the bare minimum to respect when another person voices their own.
Setting boundaries with others also goes beyond simply saying “no.” For instance, I have a friend who always asks, “would you like a hug?”, before she hugs someone. I found this to be such a simple yet profound way of checking in with your friends while also anticipating nothing in return. This instance has also helped me come to the realization that permission to access yourself goes beyond not answering the phone or responding to a text, but it relates just as much to signs of affection or physical contact with others. I feel like as women, we are so accustomed to having to nurture and be polite that something as simple as being asked before we are hugged sets off a whole chain of realizations within my mind. But that is a topic for another time.
Be sure to listen to both your own boundaries and the boundaries of others, collegiette.