How to Set Boundaries While Self-distancing

For most of us, the social distancing process has been accompanied by many questions, concerns, and uncertainty, leaving us feeling overwhelmed, confused, and anxious. These feelings are common, as we are trying to navigate an unprecedented situation that left us needing to adapt rapidly to a new reality.

There are many useful ways to help us adapt during this time, such as setting boundaries. Boundaries are an integral part of self-care and will be essential to feel psychologically well.

Boundaries with yourself related to pandemic can look like the following:

  • Limit your media or information intake
  • Rely only on two or three trusted resources
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene practices
  • Check-in regularly with yourself to increase self-awareness of internal experiences
  • Eat regular meals (even though anxiety can make it hard to feel hunger cues)
  • Limit your caffeine intake as this can induce anxiety symptoms
  • Say no to hanging out with friends, even if it is at home
  • Find safe ways to breathe in some fresh air and move your body every day

Boundaries while working from home can look like the following:

  • Set the alarm in the morning
  • Get dressed
  • Schedule breaks
  • Set your phone aside or use mobile applications to block distractions (e.g., self-control)
  • Create a designated, comfortable workspace
  • Schedule specific times for social interactions
  • Check emails during the workday only
  • Focus on one task at a time

Remember that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. It is ok to feel all your feelings. If you had mental health difficulties before the pandemic, this might be a more triggering time for you. Again, you are not alone. I hope that you take good care of yourself by honoring your mind and your body. I also hope you stay connected to your community and your loved ones by reaching out via video chat, texts, and teletherapy. We are all in this together.

Mathilde Theriault, B.A. Hons., is a clinical psychology resident at the Centre for Interpersonal Relationships (CFIR) in Toronto and a candidate in the Doctor of Psychology program (Psy.D.) at the Universite de Moncton in New Brunswick. She provides psychological treatment and assessment services to individual adults and couples in the areas of depression, anxiety and stress, trauma, personality disorders, and relationship difficulties.