Social Distancing - Fancy Word For Boundaries

You've probably seen the social media post of the "man with the pool noodle hat" from Boise, Idaho which surfaced in April. He was making sure no one was going to violate the new social distancing rules. But long before we had the new rules we had the "personal space invaders" and the "close talkers" remember when we used to talk about them? The local stores where I live literally have tape or signs on the walkways, and on the floor near the check out lines marking off every six feet reminding us not to get within 6-feet of other customers. Why am I talking about social distancing? Because social distancing is a fancy word for boundaries.

Boundaries are a form of self-care. There are three kinds of boundaries: physical, emotional, and mental. Physical refers to touch, space, and privacy. Before the Coronavirus/Covid-19 took over, some people preferred handshakes, or fist bumps over hugs. Who knows what we'll be doing once the pandemic is over. Does the picture above make you cringe? It was weird when I saw the picture, I was hesitant to use it for this post. Emotional are your feelings, and mental are your thoughts and opinions.

When you say no to going out with your friend when you didn't get enough sleep because you were up late with your sick child, you are practicing self-care by setting a physical boundary since you are tired. When you do not answer a phone call from a friend because all she is going to do is bring you down with her negativity, you are practicing self-care by setting an emotional and mental boundary. You should also do an evaluation of the friendship. If you don't set boundaries you can become exhausted and resentful.

To start setting boundaries try these four things: (1) Know your limits (2) Be assertive (3) Practice Makes Perfect (3) If all else fails, Delete and Ignore. See this article for more information.

The word “boundary” sometimes can have a negative effect when you say it. It can convey the idea of keeping yourself separate. But boundaries in this sense are actually connecting points since they provide healthy rules for navigating relationships, both intimate and professional.

We are often our own worst enemies when it comes to boundaries, I know I am. I have been guilty of running myself ragged too often. Always taking on more than I should, and then I find myself resentful or mad when I've overextended because I'm going to put 150% effort into everything I do, and my work, my effort, my love I put into it is usually going to go unappreciated.

Boundaries are a way to take care of ourselves. Boundaries help you to define a healthy emotional, mental, and physical relationship between you and others. The purpose is so you do not become overly attached, manipulated, smothered, or feel pressured to be something you are not, as well as maintain your personal identity.

You need to set boundaries for both personal and professional reasons. But at work it can be particularly important. See this article by Sharon Martin.

It takes time and support to be able to set effective boundaries. There will be pushback from everyone who is used to hearing you say yes, and there will be setbacks on your part. But with practice you will get it together. Being committed and assertive are the first steps. Setting boundaries isn’t selfish. It’s self-love – you say “yes” to yourself each time you say “no” which is a complete sentence.

So tell me, what's the cost of continuing on as you have been? So let's practice - NO!