Boundaries are Self Care

By Anna Polito

I get an email at 7:00pm on a Friday night about making a study group for an upcoming Land Law exam. One of the societies has scheduled a mandatory committee meeting Sunday at 3pm. My phone is constantly ringing from notifications from one of the groups WhatsApp chats about school.

In this digital world, where you can be reached 24/7, any day of the week, it is hard to remember we need to set boundaries.

When you do not have a time set where you can log off from all things school or work-related, it becomes so easy to feel overwhelmed. This constant access people have to our lives is exhausting, and it is in the best interest of your mental health to set boundaries.

Here are 4 rules I make sure to follow when scheduling my school and society responsibilities:​
  1. I make sure anything I post in my societies committee group chat outside of regular office hours, is not pressing for time. As a leader, I want to make sure the team knows not answering until the following day, is completely acceptable. And when possible, I hold off from texting the group chat about anything that can wait until the next day. Even though this group is a more casual setting, I am cautious of putting in anything that is more than just a light conversation out of office hours.
  2. Never schedule meetings on the weekends. Even if people are free, you need to give yourself a mental break from school. There is rarely no good reason why it cannot wait until Monday.
  3. Do not reply to emails out of office hours. When emailing professors, possible speakers, or other students, it is much more professional to make sure you get these sent out when people are more likely to be sitting at their desk, as opposed to relaxing on the couch.
  4. Take online break days. Not just social media include no email checks, no text checks on your day off. I really try my best to get one screenless day in a week. My go-to is Saturdays, and I will always make sure to let anyone know who may be contacting me to not expect a fast response. I quickly message my societies committee members to let them now that come Saturday, I will not be available to answer anything quickly. 

Do not worry so much about when these messages are sent. I get it, we are all working from home, sometimes people do not get a chance to answer us until later in the evening, but that does not mean a response is expected within the same night. Setting these boundaries allows you to have some real-time off and come back to the work refreshed and ready! It is okay to put that group chat on silent until the next day. It is okay to not get back to someone until Monday. Setting boundaries is often overlooked because social media allows us to always be available for contact, but remember you are allowed to ask people to respect your time and you must respect your own.

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