Emerge and Spread Your Wings

Healthy Work Boundaries

“Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves even when we risk disappointing others.”
Brene Brown

A few weeks ago I had the privilege to present a workshop at the Occupational Therapy New Zealand – Whakaora Ngangahou Aotearoa Clinical Workshops in Napier. This bi-annual gathering of occupational therapists from all over New Zealand is a highlight in my professional development calendar. The chance to network and catch up with old(er) friends and colleagues is such a top up for me. Alongside this is the opportunity to hear from amazing speakers and immerse myself in learning.

The workshop I presented this year was titled Healthy Work Boundaries. I offered participants the challenge to consider boundary setting in their work lives as a tool to support their wellbeing. We explored boundary challenges in four aspects of our work relationships – with our clients, colleagues, employer or manager and ourselves. Here is a taste of our learning.

Key learning points

  • Setting effective boundaries is not something we do just once in our lives. Our boundaries are always morphing and adapting to life’s circumstances.
  • Working in the helping professions often brings up issues with our boundaries in a number of areas, including with clients, colleagues, employers and our self.
  • When we practice setting healthy work boundaries we are taking responsibility for ourselves and our own well being.
  • We are also allowing others to take responsibility for what is theirs.
  • With practice we can get better at setting and enforcing our boundaries, and everyone benefits from this.
  • When we set boundaries and enforce them we can feel guilty, or uncomfortable. You are allowed to feel these feelings, and it doesn’t mean the boundary you have set is wrong.
  • When building our boundary setting muscles it is best to start with setting boundaries that are small and with “safe” people who will respect our boundaries
  • Others may feel angry, hurt or disappointed by you enforcing your boundaries – and that is OK.

Brene Brown’s quote for me is about putting my wellbeing into practice in my work. I cannot give out of an empty cup, and I need to look after myself first in order to support others. Cultivating Healthy Work Boundaries allows me to do this.

If you would like to discover more about setting healthy work boundaries I have a self paced e-course – details below. If you would like to explore your work boundaries within a supervision session contact me here…