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Defining Healthy Boundaries

Updated: Apr 5, 2021

Understanding yourself and communicating what you need and want to those around you

This buzz word has been floating around in the ether for years – but what is it and do we really need it in our lives?

Boundaries are all about sensing what’s comfortable for ourselves – deciding what you need and want along the way – and then sharing that information when necessary.

Effectively, setting up healthy boundaries is a learned communication skill. We’re not born with this.

It may seem like a big skill – everything sort of blending into everything else - but to make it more digestible, you can break everything down into tranches.

Five examples of boundaries:

  • Physical: includes the need for personal space – how comfortable we are with being touched as well as the requirement we have for rest and nourishment

  • Emotional: just as it sounds, this allows us to reflect upon how we feel

  • Time: how this is protected and utilized

  • Intellectual: refers to your thoughts, ideas, and curiosity

  • Material: handles the items and possessions we have in our homes as well as how we share them

When you see them placed next to one another, it’s easy to conjure daily examples of how this impacts our lives – especially during lockdown when space is luxury. Mess in the house, scheduling in home-schooling, finding some alone time to recharge.

The core of this concept is that boundaries are about ourselves – not other people. It’s our job to define them and then express them to the people around us in a way that can be heard and digested.

So, yelling and screaming is out. When emotions are running high, defences are up and listening goes down. Being reflective, calm and clear is a better place to begin.

Top tips to build and preserve better boundaries:

  • Name your limits: understand what you can tolerate and accept - know what makes you feel uncomfortable and stressed

  • Tune into your feelings: Make a note of when you feel discomfort or resentment as these are cues that your boundaries are being infringed upon

  • Be direct: Be aware of communication styles, some people may need information delivered delicately while others require facts and figures

  • Give yourself permission: Don’t let fear be a barrier to communicating what you feel you need

  • Practice self-awareness: Again, boundaries are all about honing in on your feelings; if you feel yourself slipping then pause and take stock

  • Consider your past and present: Think about the roles you played in your past (for example, caretaker) and remember you’re not bound to them – you’re allowed to change and grow

  • Make self-care a priority: Give yourself permission to put yourself first

  • Seek support: There’s no shame in getting help and support in figuring out how life works for you

  • Be assertive: Communicate clearly with people when they have crossed a boundary

  • Start small: Being with a boundary that isn’t threatening or overwhelming and then look to increment to ideas that are more challenging

Change comes from within and is possible for all of us to achieve. Setting healthy boundaries is the first step towards achieving a more comfortable way of being. Be kind to yourself and remember that you’re embarking on a courageous path to a better you!


We are not, nor are we holding ourselves out to be a doctor/physician, nurse, physician’s assistant, or any other medical professional. We are not, nor are we holding ourselves to be your psychologist, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, social worker or counselor. Our blog and website include(s) information and instruction relating to wellness topics, such as relationships, stress, depression, personal growth, etc.

Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific health or before implementing any recommendations or suggestions from our blog or website.

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