Not bringing work home can be a hard one for many- especially for those of us in the helping profession. But it’s actually not that difficult if you implement something very important… the word starts with a “B“… think about it. We teach, or try to teach, our clients about this all the time. Yes, you guessed it. Boundaries.

Boundaries at Work

First and foremost, you have to know where and when work ends, and the non-therapist you begins. We have to define our boundaries but first must establish our “plot lines.” There has to be a clear and concise way to measure when you’re off the clock and when you’re on the clock.

I understand that for many, being “on-call” is non-negotiable where you work. It becomes much more difficult to identify the plot lines when you’re required to bring work home. But even being on call must have some parameters too. For the rest of us not on call 24/7 this should be easier.

Types of Work Boundaries

Let’s start off with a few ways to identify how to create boundaries between work life and home life. Let’s take a look at logistical, time-oriented and emotional and mental boundaries with work.

Logistical boundaries with Work.

Identify the process of the work you are supposed to be completing. You are one person, capable of completing only one person’s worth of tasks.

Take some time to answer the following questions:

  • Who can you collaborate with to help with your daily workload?
  • Is your situation of being overwhelmed chronic or temporary?
  • Has your Director/manager giving you ample time to complete the duties expected within any given workday?
  • What duties are most important to complete each day?
  • Are you duties outlined in your job description?

Time-oriented Boundaries Work

There are only 24 hours in one day- 16 of which you spend awake. You cannot be expected to be on “work time” all hours of every day.

Take some time to answer the following questions:

  • What time did you get into work this morning/afternoon?
  • What time are you supposed to get off?
  • How many hours are you expected to work this week?
  • Did you take a lunch or break today?
  • What are roles do you play outside of work (parent/spouse/sibling/adult child, etc)? How important are those role(s) to you?

Emotional and Mental boundaries with Work.

The actual work you do is emotionally and mentally exhausting. By the time you get off work each day you found yourself completely depleted and disconnected from others and the world around you.

The following questions can help you determine if this is an area for emotional and mental boundaries improvement:

  • What have I done this week for self-care?
  • Do I need to talk to a mental health professional to get some extra support to work this out?
  • What coping skills have I attempted to apply to shift my mindset from work to home?
  • Am I bringing Work home?
  • If I continue working this way, is it sustainable for my mental health?

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and uncertain if the job you have is sustainable, chances are something needs to change. Your boundaries may need to be re-evaluated and your priorities differently managed. There are labor laws prohibiting excessive working so take this seriously.

Talk with your counselor about what that could be. If you need a referral for counseling services, talk to your colleagues, look online, or get guidance from our sister practice

The truth is we’re all guilty of it at some point in time or another. Whether you’re working in the mental health profession or not, it can be very difficult to separate yourself from work and home life which can cause a lack of harmony. Before you begin effectively implementing boundaries with work, you first must identify what your plot lines are.