We’ve been some recording some podcasts with CDI Alliance looking at the topic of wellbeing (more on this to follow!), and one of the things we’ve talked about is the importance of setting boundaries in our work and in our lives.
One area we know people struggle is in taking a proper break from work. Whilst it is wonderful that we can now work any place, any time, this also means it can be more difficult to step away.
However it is important for us all to have some time off. The Working Time regulations talk about daily rest, weekly rest and longer annual leave breaks, and it can be helpful to make sure we are all benefiting from these different types of rest.
We know this is particularly difficult for small business owners or the self employed, with the need to be responsive and the fear of losing out on work at a time when everyone is feeling the squeeze financially.
However it is important to balance against this the cost of not taking a break – the risk of becoming tired and burnt out, affecting the relationships with our friends and family and often not being in the best place to provide a great service to our customers and clients.
It is a common pattern to see people set up in business for themselves, saying they would like to spend more time with their family, and then finding the business eats into their personal time just as much if not more than their previous job did!
With the holiday season in mind, we’d encourage everyone to ask themselves:
● When was the last time I took a proper break?
● How does the way I work reflect my values?
● Does where I spend my time reflect my priorities in life?
● What do I need to do to protect my own wellbeing?
● How can I build a business that is responsive but can also be resilient and workable longer term?
● Do I need to respond straight away, or is it a situation that can wait until my next work time?
● If I can’t step away completely, how can I put limits around my working times?
Maybe one day at a weekend is protected, maybe during periods of leave I will work for an hour first thing in the morning and then switch off for the rest of the day?
● What are the exceptions to the rules? (both in terms of work being allowed to interrupt personal time and when personal time becomes the priority)
● How can I explain my plans to both clients and colleagues, so that everyone is clear what is happening?
Studies have shown that people with solid boundaries tend to have lower levels of stress and higher self esteem, and are able to establish and maintain healthy relationships, so it is worth investing the time to think about how boundaries can help boost your wellbeing.