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4 emotional signs that you may need stronger boundaries

Boundaries at work are more important but harder to achieve than ever before as a result of the pandemic. Eighty-five percent of workers say their well-being has declined in the past year due in part to the lack of separation between work and life.

This happened to one of my coaching clients, Angie, a senior director at an advertising agency. While she excelled in her role, she struggled to disconnect at the end of the day. Work worries bled into her evenings, and she often found herself distracted by deadlines at the dinner table.

You might be like Angie, and know setting boundaries is crucial, but struggle to do so. Many of my coaching clients, professionals I refer to as sensitive strivers, are the same. As deep thinkers and feelers, they are dedicated and empathetic to fault. They struggle to say no and take on so much that it’s hard for them to figure out where to begin setting boundaries.

A good way to start is by looking at the data from your emotional responses. There is a simple internal assessment that I created that can help. If you have one of four feelings—tension, resentment, frustration, or discomfort—it’s a sign that a boundary is needed. By addressing situations where these “four feelings” arise, you create time and space for more of what you do want and less of what you don’t.

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