I’m not sure what your daily life looks like right now. Maybe you are overwhelmed with suddenly homeschooling all of your children, adapting to teaching online, or leading your school into a new phase of learning. Maybe you have more free time since the virus has put a halt on what you can do in your role. Whichever position this season has put you in, healthy boundaries are so important for you and for those around you. As this season of our lives stretches longer than a week or two, let’s move forward as best as we can. With wisdom from God, and grace for ourselves, this season of life can still be one of growth.
Why are boundaries important?
Everyone is craving boundaries and clear expectations right now. There has been an upheaval in our lives, our schedules don’t exist as they once did, and each day may feel like it is blurring into the next. Many of us have never worked from home or even desired to. Setting boundaries and expectations for this season is crucial for accomplishing our goals and more importantly having our families, friends, and students feel safe and secure in the knowledge of how and when they can count on us in this time. A lack of boundaries confuses the people in our lives. With the countless uncertainties right now, it’s important for those in our lives that depend on us to know when and in what capacity we can be depended on.
Ideas on boundaries to set:
- Have office hours with an automated response that includes FAQs. This can prompt others to problem solve on their own and not depend on getting answers from you at any hour. This also helps others know when they can expect to hear back from you.
- Set screen time limits. Of course, it’s not only for the kids! Removing certain news apps or turning off notifications for your work email may give you the space and time to breath that you didn’t know you needed. Allot certain times to watch the news once or twice a day and that’s it!
- Keep things simple. Most of us weren’t designed or prepared to live out our lives or jobs in this way. It’s okay to keep things simple. You can always add once you have patterns and schedules in place. This goes for you, your family, and your students.
- Have a consistent workplace. Designating a work spot provides your family/roommates a visual signal that you are working and allows them to respect your work time.
- Set times & spaces for your different roles throughout the day. Where and when do you help your kids with school work? Workout? Have your quiet time with God? Watch Netflix?
The absolute hardest part of healthy boundaries is upholding the boundaries you have set and communicating those boundaries to everyone involved. We tend to want to give everything to our students, our kids, and our friends, but we simply can’t. This is a unique time where we are all hurting and impacted in some way. “Boundaries are a part of self-care. They are healthy, normal, and necessary.” We must take care of ourselves in order to be able to properly and lovingly take care of others. This is a good practice in every season and something good to model and implement for our children and our students as well.
I can offer advice, but at the end of the day, there is one who has ultimate wisdom and will give us discernment on what our days can look like. The Creator of this world—who isn’t surprised by any of this—wants to speak into our days and give us creativity, joy, and strength to carry on.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
I pray that you seek out the wisdom of God in how to live out this season.
Special Education Specialist
 Conover, Carrie. “Building Healthy Boundaries.” educators2educators, Apr. 2020, www.educators2educators.com/healthy-boundaries. Martin, S. (2018). Quotes to Inspire Healthy Boundaries. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 6, 2020, from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/imperfect/2016/06/quotes-healthy-boundaries/
Photo Credits: Prayer, via Shutterstock. calendar, RL Hunsberger. Online Learning, via Shutterstock.
Morgan Newcomb is a certified special education teacher from Chicago IL. She is currently serving in South East Asia as a special education consultant.