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3 Steps to Creating Healthy Boundaries

One more email. One more text. One more date on the calendar. It’s shocking how one more can quickly become 20 more things to do. Soon, it seems you can’t get ahead or catch your breath. While work and personal life will inevitably throw some stressful situations your way, adding healthy boundaries into your daily routine will help your mental wellbeing and allow you navigate challenging times when they do rise.

Overbooking and overpromising is a hard habit to break, but it can have real implications to your health, especially if you have anxiety and/or a stress-related disorder. The Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) curricula says while everyday anxiety and stressors can keep people from harmful situations, anxiety and stressor-related disorders differ in that they are typically more persistent, severe and interfere with your life.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that anxiety disorders tend to be more common in women than in men, affecting 54% of women and 46% of men. Further, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says 37 percent of people with generalized anxiety disorder sought professional help. So, while anxiety may be due to unintentionally stretching yourself too thin, don’t rule out a mental health disorder. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about your mental or physical wellbeing.

MHFA offers tips and knowledge to help you recognize if you or someone you know is facing mental health challenges — temporary or long-term. Find a course today to get trained as a First Aider or Instructor.

Everyone, however, can benefit from setting healthy boundaries. When you establish healthy boundaries, you allow others to be seen and heard while respecting your own needs and wants. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Understand your stressors and define your limits. To start, write down what is causing you stress. Is it constantly checking your phone for work emails? A group text that never stops pinging with notifications? Seeing your stressors on paper may help you brainstorm ways to prevent them from happening. Your limit may be to only work a certain number of hours in the day or cut back screen time. By also writing your limits down, you can hold yourself accountable.
  • Start with small, consistent adjustments. Set yourself up for success with attainable changes. You’ll be amazed at how even the smallest tweaks will snowball and impact your mental wellbeing. This could include disabling notifications on your phone, creating focus time blocks in your calendar, and distancing yourself from relationships that leave you feeling less than. If you ever waiver on whether to take on a “one more,” ask yourself if the to-do is in line with your defined limits.
  • Practice self-compassion. There will be tasks, events and situations that blindside you. There will be others you take on against your better judgment. Give yourself some grace! Acknowledge the situation then communicate to others how you’re feeling and ask for help. We’re all human. You may be surprised at how compassionate others can be.

Setting healthy boundaries is something you’ll likely need to revisit in different seasons of your life (which is why it’s good to write them down). Making your mental wellbeing a priority and demonstrating how to do so through your actions allows you to set an example for family, friends and coworkers.

Interested in learning how MHFA can help you take care of yourself and those around you? Find a Mental Health First Aid course near you and learn how to notice and support an individual who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use concern or crisis and connect them with appropriate resources.

#BeTheDifference to yourself and others through everyday habits and healthy boundaries.

Learn more about MHFA and sign up for a course today!



Mental Health First Aid. (2020). Mental Health First Aid USA. National Council for Behavioral Health d/b/a National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

National Institute of Mental Health. (2018, Jul.). Anxiety disorders.

Skarl, S. (2015). Anxiety and depression association of America. Journal of Consumer Health on the Internet. 19(2). 100-106

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