What does it actually mean to know your limits? Well, the textbook definition is, “To know how much one is able to do.” But that line gets blurred when life happens. You get busy, and things tend to pile up. Humans can only take so much. We need to relax, unwind, and turn off our brains from time to time. But the task of “drawing the line” looks different for everyone. It could include setting boundaries with your boss; Or regulating your eating and sleeping patterns; It could extend to your friendships or hobbies, your relationship with social media/the Internet and more. The possibilities are endless.
Day to Day
When we experience stress for a decent amount of time, we begin to feel run down, numb, hopeless, and devoid of motivation (aka, burnout). Stress looks different for everyone. Here are a few examples of situations that can cause excessive stress/burnout:
- 2020 – This one is a given
- Being unhappy in your job
- Not enjoying what you’re doing
- Poor management
- Having a heavy workload or too much responsibility
- Working long hours
- Caring for people other than yourself
- Consistently worrying about the future
- Experiencing a lack of appreciation by superiors, coworkers and family
- Creating unrealistic goals that are daunting and difficult to meet
- Divorce, death, loss of a job
- Traumatic event
No matter the situation, if you are unaware of what is causing your stress, it is only going to add fuel to the fire.
The Social Media Dilemma
While stuck at home it’s easy to fall into the trap of scrolling through social media to pass the time. But we all know how toxic social media can be. Being informed is important, but it can come with a lot of negativity. When that happens, I recommend deleting your social media apps for at least for a few days. Also, give yourself one opportunity a day to take a peek at the news—for five minutes—and then call it! That way, you won’t feel out of touch with the world, but you also won’t be risking more of your mental health.
Working from Home
It can be hard to set work boundaries when you technically never leave your office. But you must remember that just because you live in your workspace, that doesn’t mean you should be expected to work longer hours. Barring an emergency, once that clock hits 5PM (or your normal quitting time) turn off the computer and detox. Expecting anything more out of your employees and/or co workers is detrimental and exhausting. We all need time to recoup, refresh, and shut down after a long day.
Ok so how do we set boundaries with ourselves, our bosses, our friends, our families, and with social media apps? First things first, I would recommend writing down everything you are stressed, worried, and overwhelmed about. Once you see it all on paper, it might help you figure out a strategy. Plan the amount of time you want to spend on social media every day and try your very best to stick to it. Actually, turn off your computer or laptop when you are done with your scheduled workday, unless it’s absolutely necessary to stay online. Try to plan little self-care things you can do daily or weekly, so you are treating yourself through the craziness. Talk to someone unbiased about things you are going through. I have been going to therapy off and on for four years now and let me tell you, it’s life changing! But also do not be too hard on yourself if you’re feeling like nothing you’re doing to combat the stress is helping. Right now, the best thing you can be to yourself is nice.
If situations don’t feel like they can get any better, then walk away. It’s not giving up if you’ve given it your all. My biggest recommendation would be to take one hour at a time. Don’t try to think too far ahead when your current situation doesn’t leave room for that. It’ll save you. Know your limits and stick to them—always.