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5 Ways to Set Mental Health Boundaries Without Explaining Yourself

Boundaries set the foundation of any relationship; whether it be with your partner, family members, friends or coworkers — we all have boundaries in place within each one. Sometimes these boundaries change over time as relationships get more intimate or they deteriorate. This is all perfectly normal, but it also seems easier said than done to set boundaries with people.

I personally used to struggle with setting boundaries and always felt the need I had to put others before myself. I liked to avoid conflict because I couldn’t be bothered with it and I just liked to please others. I’ve learned my lesson from that and know now that putting myself first is actually the boundary that always needs to be in place, especially when it comes to me going through a depressive or manic episode with bipolar disorder.

Here are five ways you can set a boundary without having to explain yourself too much:

1. “I don’t have the energy to go out right now or I don’t have anything planned this weekend but I would like to rest instead of going out — could we please reschedule?”

Your rest days are so important; you don’t have to go out and do something every weekend to feel fulfilled. Prioritize your rest when it’s needed.

2. “Could we talk about this later? I would like to be able to support you but I’m just not in the right mind-frame at the moment.”

Timing is a big thing for me when it comes to supporting someone, I wouldn’t be a great support if I’m depressed or angry. I like to be honest and let people know I need some time if I’m not in the right mind-frame to listen. I’m a very empathetic person so I really take in how others feel.

3. I’m not looking for any advice, I just want to vent.”

It’s natural for a lot of people to want to give advice if you’re struggling, and it’s often forgotten that really, you just want to get something off your chest.

4. I’d appreciate it if you stopped asking about this.”

This could apply to many things and will save you so much unnecessary stress of feeling like you have to talk about something when you don’t want to.

5. I don’t feel comfortable discussing this decision/matter/event/problem with you.”

As rude as this may come across, it’s OK to not want to talk about certain things with certain people. Your life isn’t an open book for everyone to read, it’s your choice who you want to talk to and if someone is offended that you won’t include them, it’s really not your fault.

It can seem daunting at first to set boundaries if you’re not used to doing it, but it gets easier and it’s necessary. A lot of people won’t even mind because they’ve most likely been in the same position. The people that do mind just aren’t worth it.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash