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Boundaries are important to set any time, but with the uncertainty of school, work and relationships during a pandemic, they’re even more necessary. Lindsay Boccardo, generational consultant and millennial career coach has some tips to set boundaries at work without making it feel awkward. Here’s more from her:

For some of us, our lives are just starting to get back to semi-normal. School is starting. Working is starting. Friend situations are changing for you and the kids. We are all in a giant reset. So, what do you want to do differently?

Boundaries can feel awkward, especially if we are afraid that we are going to disappoint people.

Boundaries are first, you telling yourself what you’re okay with and what you’re not – and then communicating that to other people.

You know when it’s time to set a boundary. You’re frustrated, you feel used, you might feel your body get tense or maybe there’s that one thing that you keep wanting to vent about. Those are strong signs that you need to communicate a boundary somewhere.

Three Tips to Setting a Boundary

Here’s how to set a boundary when feeling overwhelmed:

1. Acknowledge the person’s intention – we are all trying here.

Ex: “I know you’re trying to figure out how to fix this…”

2. Share your “friendly fence line” that was there before this person made the request. Just enough context to be helpful, not apologetic. 

Ex: “We typically reserve Sundays as family days, so I wasn’t planning on being available for a call.”

3. Share what you’re willing to do (it may not be what they want you to do exactly). This is an opportunity to be helpful without feeling irritated. 

Ex: “I can jump on the phone with you first thing Monday morning so we can get this sorted out.”

I have to remind myself all the time, we are not in a normal circumstance. Everyone is doing their best with work commitments, kids going back to school and lots of difficult circumstances. We aren’t able to really consider each other because we don’t see each other. You might find yourself setting more boundaries than normal. You might find yourself having to be more direct and communicate things that felt obvious to you before.

For more from Boccardo, visit her website.