“Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal and necessary” – Doreen Virtue
It is time to break the cycle of saying “yes” to everything, especially as a caregiver. It is essential for caregiver longevity, protecting your energy so you can be a better caregiver.
How to set boundaries:
1. Discover the boundary you are trying to create: Once you know the underlying reason for the need to create a boundary, it becomes easier. Here are some common feelings that caregivers feel and experience:
- A sense of guilt in feeling that they are not doing enough
- Detachment and disconnection from the person they are caring for to prevent themselves from experiencing hurt
- A fear of losing connection when saying no, speaking the truth, or setting a boundary
- A desire to please and be helpful
- A desire to rescue, fix or save the other person
2. Know Your Limits: Self-awareness is key to boundary setting and caregiving longevity. Identify what makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed—these feelings are often an indicator we are out of sync with our boundaries. You may feel that you are being taken advantage of or not appreciated, resulting in overexertion or overcompensating.
- Can someone else meet the care recipients need? Sitting down with the person you care for an having a discussion on what your capacity is, and create a solution which works for both of you.
3. Give yourself a break: Setting boundaries are usually in direct conflict with feelings of guilt, shame and fear. There may be a fear of the reaction of the person they care for when boundaries are set, especially when they haven’t been strongly set before. There is also a common feeling that as a caregiver you have to “cope” with a situation even when boundaries are being violated. Once you understand what boundaries are needed and why, you are better able to navigate situations and people that push you boundaries.
4. Find support: Having a group of peers to talk to or a trusted friend makes it easier to set boundaries and be held accountable, and to talk about the feelings that arise. It takes courage, practice and self-compassion to set boundaries and stay the course.
Be kind to yourself and stay the course. Boundaries are an essential part of caregiving and setting them will make you a more effective caregiver.
Interested in more resources on boundary setting? Read Part 1: Discover why boundaries are important for caregivers or Watch our Past Webinar, Where to draw the line: Boundary Setting for Caregivers