Boundaries can be your best friends – use them to keep your mental health strong.
By LEANNE LAM
The past year has been filled with ups and downs, uncertainties, and changes for all of us. From travel bans, to setting up home offices, to adjusting to a masked way of life, there were a lot of stressful adaptations to make. Have we stayed sane the whole time? Probably not, but we managed to get through it.
Creating healthy boundaries was most essential to my sanity. With everything happening online now, work never seems to end. Clients and colleagues expect you to reply to them whenever you touch your phone. Annual leaves just became more days of working from home.
Since I am in the events industry and wedding planning is one of our specialties, I know the pressure of planning a once in a lifetime event can be huge on both the planner and the client. Most of our clients have nine-to-five desk jobs, so they are only free to meet after usual working hours. It is important to prioritize the clients’ schedules, but it is also important to set a start and end time for work. What time you wrap up work doesn’t matter, and is completely up to you, but it needs to stop at some point every day.
I am sure as business owners or an engaged couple planning a wedding, you always feel like you are missing something. I still remember the days and months when I could not sleep, constantly getting up to amend my documents and create mind maps. In the morning, I would still be anxious and worry about whether I did enough.
After a lot of tiring and emotionally difficult days, I realized the importance of creating boundaries and designating rest time for yourself. This has become increasingly important since we started working at home and the line between work and rest blurred even more. For those of you who prioritize productivity like me, be sure to carve out time to rest your minds and eyelids, even for just ten minutes. You will be more clear-headed and productive afterward.
While ‘rest time’ is certainly essential to wellbeing, so is ‘me time.’ Other than creating healthy boundaries in your workspace, it is also crucial to communicate your schedule and your need for personal time to your friends and family.
As an entrepreneur, I am constantly around people. Full days can pass with back-to-back client meetings and plans with friends after work. Everyone enjoys good company and new experiences, but we often forget to take time to be with ourselves and cultivate some inner peace. I used to think that being with friends and family on the weekends equals resting, but after weeks of nonstop meeting people, I realized I was exhausted and mentally worn out.
Time alone to rest our minds is when we truly get inspired, create, and reflect. It is your responsibility to your health to communicate the boundaries you want others to respect. There will always be people who do not understand your needs, but your friends and family who care about you, and any colleagues who value productivity, will know how important this is.
It’s truly admirable that we are all working our hardest and still crunching numbers in this collectively stressful time. While our ability to grind in spite of challenges is extraordinary, it’s important that we don’t forget that health is our greatest asset. After all, how can we continue to inspire and create if we have burned through our sense of wellbeing?
The best course of action in this uncertain era is setting workplace and personal boundaries, making time to care for yourself, and prioritizing your wellbeing. In the long run, your body and mind will thank you for it.
About the Author
Leanne founded Le Lumière Events four years ago in Hong Kong with the mission to create ever-lasting moments and memories through exquisite events and impeccable event management. She specializes in creating customized decorations and personalized experiences and has since expanded into London and Shanghai. Leanne also advocates youth and female empowerment.