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How to Set Healthy Boundaries at Work

Work | Paul Middleton | 3 mins

Have you ever felt run down, spent, or burnt out? Whatever the reality of “work” is for you, I know that it can be all-consuming and feel like it never ends. As a parent, it’s even more apparent to me, as my top priority is raising my children to love God and others on purpose. I cannot do that effectively if I am overworked, overstressed, and overwhelmed at my job.

And neither can you.

No matter what stage of life you are in - It's essential to prioritize your mental health and well-being, and that includes setting healthy boundaries with your work. Here are a few things that are helpful to me, and I hope they are helpful to you.

It’s Okay to Say “No”

Data shows that many people struggle with this - they feel guilty or afraid of saying no to the demands of work, even if it means sacrificing their family time or personal time. But let me tell you; it's okay to say “no.” It's okay to set limits on your workload, your availability, and your energy.

Here is one of my favorite quotes that I share all of the time from author and speaker Jefferson Bethke, “If you aren’t saying ‘no’ to good things, you aren’t saying ‘no’ enough.

Communicate Openly and Honestly

One of the most important things you can do is communicate openly and honestly with your boss about your priorities and limitations. Don't be afraid to have that difficult conversation about your need for work-life balance. Your boss may surprise you with their understanding and support.

However, if your boss does not respect your boundaries, it's important to stand firm and protect your mental health and family time. This will be hard, uncomfortable or even risky, but it's better to be honest and assertive than to let your job consume you and harm your relationships with your family or loved ones.

Remember, our main job is not our work - it’s to be apprentices of Jesus. Let us prioritize our family/friend time, our mental health, and our relationship with God, and let everything else fall into place.

In the words of Jesus, rephrased by Eugene Peterson:

Are you tired?
Worn out?
Burned out on religion?
Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
” - Matthew 11:28 (MSG)

So let's lead well, rest well, and live the life God offers to us all.

Written By

Paul Middleton

Husband to Andrea and father to Hannah and Rachel (#GirlDad). An extrovert who loves all things Bible. Always down for a cup of coffee and a good hang. Communications Director at Sun Valley Community Church. 

Published on Mar 29, 2023