Here's how you can set boundaries with your loved ones during lockdown

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Woman discussing boundaries with her mother.
Woman discussing boundaries with her mother.
SDI Production / Getty Images

Many of us are spending more time at home, even during level 3 lockdown. At first, the thought of being surrounded by family, housemates or partners 24/7 may have felt comforting and exciting during this uncertain time.

But, even though the pandemic is still around, you might need to give yourself personal space from your family, your friends or your partner.

Read more | How to tell your friends you still have to social distance during level 3 lockdown

If the past few months have been a bit tough on you and your family, we speak to an expert on the importance of setting boundaries and seeing them through.

DRUM speaks to Sithabile Ndlovu, a clinical psychologist, who says "boundaries are agreed limits and are like rules that govern a relationship".

"Having clear boundaries helps define relationships and sets limits on how much of ourselves we can give and, as such, are crucial to mental health and wellbeing. While setting clear boundaries can help to protect you or keep certain things out like unrealistic expectations, it certainly also helps keep certain things like one's peace of mind intact.

"We are often faced with the task of establishing boundaries with those closest to us, this makes it a lot more difficult as we may experience feelings of guilt when we want to demarcate and define our space,” she says.

"During lockdown, a lot of boundaries have been blurred as people adjust and adapt to the new normal. Firstly, the 'working from home' or 'living at work' speaks of a violation of boundaries where people are finding it difficult to separate work from home and home from work. This would then naturally filter through to violation of boundaries in relationships during this time.

"Most people are anxious and frustrated by the current circumstances and they may require so much more emotional capacity from their significant others," she adds.

Read more | Battling emotional burnout? Here’s how to handle it like a pro

Ndlovu says setting boundaries helps one define how they would like to be treated. "Not only this, but it helps you acknowledge your own needs and how they should be met. It helps you take better care of yourself, therefore making you more able to attend to your relationships,” Ndlovu says. With this, she advises keeping these four things in mind, and constantly revisiting them:

1 Establish boundaries

2 Clearly communicate your boundaries

3 Accept that your boundaries may not always be welcomed

4 Maintain boundaries by continuously reaffirming them. 

In an article on Thrive Global, life strategist Carmen Sakurai gives these eight tips:

- Clearly identify your boundary

- Understand why you need this boundary

- Becide what happens if your request is not respected

- Be direct

- Don't apologise

- Begin with tighter boundaries

- Address violations to your boundaries early

- Practise mindfulness and trust your gut.

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