How to Set Boundaries and Avoid Burnout

Mrs. Carroll, Counselor

Without clear boundaries, we will at some point burn out.  Boundaries help us differentiate what task we are completing at the time.  When we don’t have boundaries in place it can make us feel like we are spread too thin and this, in turn, will exhaust us.  Imagine you open a Google drive and then you open a file.  Then you open another file, and another.  When your brain is not allowed to complete a task, it gets tired.   When we are not able to close down open files, our internal emotional muscles get depleted because they are always open.  We feel our most productive when we can concentrate on one task at a time and check things off of our list.

In an ideal world, your brain is wired to start a task and then finish it without distractions. This was easier to do when we were able to come to school and this was our student role; our role in the home was different.  We had physical boundaries.  Well, now we’re doing both from home.  How can these boundaries be made clearer?

The first step in setting boundaries is realizing that you have too many files open in your brain and you may be trying to accomplish too many things. You have to know why you are setting boundaries for yourself or you won’t enforce them.  For example, I want to be better organized at school.  I don’t want to stay up until midnight doing homework.  I am tired of being tired.  I want to have an end to my school day.

What are some realistic goals you can set? Try not to do work from your bed.  This ideally should be your relaxation zone when you are not ‘in school.’   Create a school zone in your room or home.  Take a break and leave your room during lunch.  Your brain needs this time to recharge.  After school, give yourself another break in a different part of the house and then go back and close out the files in your brain.  Completing a task and closing out a file, tells our brain we are being successful.   Look at your list of homework, what is due first?  Work on that.  What’s next?  Work on that.  There are lots of calendar apps made specifically for students that can help you stay organized.  Make a plan and if you know your ‘why,’ you will be more likely to stick with it.

Boundaries are part of self-care and are important to help you be the best version of yourself.  You are worth that.