Kristin GlasureBy Kristin Glasure, FAIRHOPE President and CEO

Establishing boundaries defines what you are willing to do, how you want to be treated, and how you want people to behave around you. Establishing your expectations is your strong hopes or principles that a certain event will occur or that you will obtain the desired outcome.

It’s important for everyone to understand the power and need of setting boundaries, but it is especially critical for caregivers. It helps prevent burnout and additional stress. It permits you to ask for help. No one can do it all, and protecting your well-being while caring for a loved one is equally important.

Caregivers, ask yourself a few critical questions:

  1. When was the last time you got a full eight hours of sleep?
  2. When was the last time to ate a healthy meal?
  3. When was the last time you asked for help without feeling guilty?

If you struggled to answer these questions, it is time to consider your own needs and set boundaries. Being a caregiver doesn’t mean you need to skip out on life. Caregivers deserve to have hobbies, get enough sleep, and exercise. Boundaries can help meet the caregiver’s needs.

That leads us to – how to set boundaries. A good first step is to connect with peers who can help. Or you can communicate your boundaries to your family or friends.

Wherever you are on the caregiving spectrum, it is important to remember boundaries are not cruel but critical and expectations are not meaningless but meaningful. When put in any situation where you may need boundaries remember:

  • The power of saying no.
  • Catch stress early.
  • Communicate.
  • Get support when needed.
  • Feel your emotions.
  • Set realistic boundaries for your expectations or goals.

We understand setting boundaries can be difficult for some and easy for others. We also understand every situation is different, but everyone deserves to avoid burnout physically and mentally and have their boundaries respected. When in doubt take a step back and evaluate if you need to set boundaries or respect boundaries. Do not miss our last blog in our Methods to Reduce or Prevent Caregiver Stress article on making legal and financial plans!