How To Establish Healthy Boundaries to Protect Your Mental Health

As we recognize World Mental Health Day on 10 October, don’t miss these Practical Ways to Boost Your Mental Health Toolkit.

In today’s fast-paced world, the boundaries between our personal and professional lives have become increasingly blurred. Advances in technology, along with the recent shift to remote work, have made it challenging to disconnect and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Whereas things like emails and calls were once limited to the office, they now spill into everyday life. As such, the rate of burnout is at an all-time high, with more than 40% of the global workforce reportedly feeling burned out.

For business leaders in particular, the relentless pursuit of success can take an immense toll on your overall well-being. Caught in a never-ending cycle of work demands, we are prone to chronic stress, exhaustion, sleep disorders and more. As a result, more and more business leaders are abandoning their professional pursuits, regardless of the success they have encountered along the way.

Now more than ever, it is essential to establish healthy boundaries to support your mental, physical and emotional health and, ultimately, your bottom line. According to the World Health Organization, reduced productivity due to anxiety and depression cost the global economy approximately $1 trillion each year.

Here are some practical tips to help you set healthy boundaries and ensure sustainable success:

  • Set a regular time to turn off notifications. Constant interruptions from work-related notifications can make it difficult to recharge outside of work. By establishing a designated time to silence notifications each day, you can create space for relaxation. If you anticipate an urgent call, consider using the “favorite” function to ensure important contacts can still reach you (and give you peace of mind).
  • Carve out time to disconnect with loved ones. Nurture your personal relationships by intentionally dedicating regular time to connect with loved ones. Whether it’s a monthly date night or a regular family dinner, be sure to set these commitments at a pace you can honor. Remember, it’s not about the quantity of time but the quality of the moments shared.
  • Be clear about your availability. Clearly communicate your availability to your team for non-emergency requests. For example, you might establish an open-door policy every Wednesday morning as a designated time for them to ask questions, raise concerns or share feedback. This will help avoid impromptu interruptions, allowing you to be more productive.
  • Designate time for focused work. To prevent work from encroaching on your personal time, establish a specific day or half-day each week to tackle your more time-intensive tasks and balance deadlines without having to take your work home.
  • Master the art of saying no. Finding yourself over-committed is one of the easiest paths to burnout. Having firm, clear boundaries and embracing the power of this two-letter word will help you give a more enthusiastic “yes” to the things that most deserve your time and attention, both in and out of the workplace.

As the leader of your company, it’s not only your responsibility to set boundaries for yourself but also to foster an environment that supports the work-life balance of your team. To achieve this, here are four steps you can take to encourage healthy boundaries, flexibility and productivity within your organization:

1. Articulate clear expectations with clients.

Provide your clients with a guideline on office hours, response times, meeting schedules and deliverable deadlines. Collaborate with your team to establish these expectations, ensuring that they align with their bandwidth. This will help manage client expectations and relationships so that everyone is set up for success.

2. Establish communication protocols.

Define your expectations regarding communication during and outside of regular work hours. For instance, as a general rule, you may want to state that you don’t expect your employees to respond to emails or calls outside of normal work hours or on weekends. And for emergencies, create a protocol to clearly define when and how to address these.

3. Foster productivity and impact.

Consider scheduling a day each week where meetings are minimized to allow employees uninterrupted time for creative thinking, strategic planning and focused work.

4. Help remote employees define their workspace.

Consider providing financial and logistic support to your remote team members to establish a dedicated workspace. This will ease the mental transition between their professional and personal lives.

In a world that demands our constant time and energy, embracing healthy boundaries is an empowering act of self-care. By prioritizing our well-being, we reclaim control over our lives and create space for personal and professional growth. As leaders, we must remember that by honoring our limits, we not only protect our own vitality but also inspire others to do the same. Think of these steps as a road map to help you create a balance within your organization that allows both you and your employees to thrive, therefore directly impacting your bottom line.

Contributed to EO by Chantel Cohen, an EO Accelerator in Atlanta. Chantel is the founder and CEO of CWC Coaching and Therapy, which provides therapy and coaching services to entrepreneurs and professionals. Chantel provides mental health support for leading organizations like Google, Coca-Cola, Bravo Channel, Lenovo and Coursera. Chantel contributed the post, Your Business or Your Love Life? You Don’t Have to Choose, to EO on Inc. This post originally appeared on Forbes.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog



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