Creating Healthy Boundaries Between Work & Home

Creating Healthy Boundaries Between Work & Home
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Having good boundaries between your work and home life will be helpful for you for many reasons. It can help reduce stress, anxiety and burnout while improving your mental health and relationships with loved ones. If you are feeling well-balanced between work and home, you will also probably perform better at your job.

So how do you get to leave work at work and enjoy time at home or anywhere else you want to be? This can vary widely depending on what type of work you do and whether you work 100% in the office, at home or a hybrid of the two.

I have learned that there are some people who are considered “integrators” which means they don’t mind mixing work with their home life. This means that they may prefer to check their work email from home because it helps them feel better prepared when they’re back at work the next day. The opposite of an integrator is a “separatist.” This is a person who prefers classic boundaries. Work is for work and home is for home- no mixing! What style are you? How might you integrate this into your life?

Be selective about who you spend time with when you’re not working. If you choose to spend time with coworkers during lunch or outside of work hours, I recommend making sure it’s with people that you have meaningful relationships with so you can talk about topics not related to your jobs. If the only thing you have in common is your work, you’ll find that you gravitate to talking about or even complaining about work, even when you’re not working. This can lead to feeling burned out.

What if I work remotely from home?

As a true separatist, it was a strange transition for me in 2020 when my job switched to a hybrid model, part-time in the office and part-time virtually from home (this was a different job than my private therapy practice). I had prided myself in never taking my work home before. I didn’t even know how to log in remotely! I needed to shift my perspective of how to make this work and still have boundaries that felt okay to me.

Like many people around the world, my partner and I were both balancing how to work from home in a small rental while trying not to drive each other or ourselves crazy. Our cat was also adjusting to us being home more and often wanted more attention as well.

Against all my instincts, I found myself seeing therapy clients virtually… from my bedroom! This was going against every fiber of my being. But I had to make it work. I set up a very small office space in the corner of our bedroom that involved a folding table and a chair in the corner. I did not want my clients to see my actual bedroom. When I was finished for the day, I would put away the table, chair, my laptop and all my work supplies. It needed to be out of sight so I could transition to being home.

The lesson that I learned is to still find some way to create a transition from work to home, even if you’re technically working from home. This will also vary based on how much space and how many people you’re sharing your space with at home. If you’re lucky, you may have the option of having an actual home office. This is ideal, if possible, because you will have more of a separation between your work and the rest of your home life.

If you’re living in a small space and don’t have the luxury of having a unique room for a home office, you can still create boundaries! If you have a small workstation set up, consider covering it up when you’re finished for the workday so you can’t glaringly see it. Maybe cover your computer with a pretty tapestry or blanket until you’re ready to use your workstation again the next day.

Rituals to End Your Workday

I hope I didn’t lose you at the word “rituals”. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about anything spiritual here (unless you want to draw the spiritual element in). A ritual can be like a habit– a behavior you do regularly. And in this case, it’s a ritual to help you transition from the workday to your home life. The examples I listed above while working from home about completely putting away my work equipment or covering up your workstation are examples of rituals while working from home.

If you are someone who commutes, I imagine you probably already have some sort of ritual you do when you leave your office to help you decompress as you transition home. Maybe it’s you listen to your favorite podcast, jam out to your favorite music, enjoy complete silence, or maybe you even head to the gym.

Other ritual ideas that come to mind, particularly when working from home and transitioning from your workday to home life is utilizing your senses. Do you have an aromatherapy spritzer you enjoy? You could spray yourself with it or spray the space you were working in to “cleanse” it. Maybe you go wash your hands, splash your face with water or even take a shower to wash the workday off from you. I’d love to hear what great rituals you use when ending your workday! You probably even have some that you engage in going from home to work. Cup of coffee or tea anyone?


Healthy boundaries between work and home will help you feel less stressed and anxious and will help improve your overall mental health.

Are you an integrator or a separatist? How can you incorporate this knowledge into your life regarding boundaries?

Consider who you spend time with outside of work and what you talk about. Spending too much time with coworkers or talking too much about work may lead you to feeling burned out.

Be creative in how you separate work from home, even if you work at home. What rituals can you do to help you transition from home to work and from work to home?

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