Beyond Burnout: Redefining Success through Healthy Work Boundaries

October 2, 2023


A women sits at her desk in front of her laptop and holds her head in her hands, demonstrating her feeling of burnout.

“Burnout” is a word we’re hearing more often than ever before. As thousands of professionals have acknowledged burnout as a real problem, companies must take the appropriate steps to combat burnout for their employees. 

However, individuals must define their personal and professional boundaries and advocate for their own wellness in the workplace, too.

Boundary Setting in the Workplace 

Burnout often comes from a heavy workload or feeling overworked and underappreciated in the workplace. Those who experience burnout often report feeling unusually stressed for extended periods of time, to the point where the stress eventually never dissipates. 

Stress in the workplace is usually caused by high demands, lack of support, role change, and lack of control. So many factors contributing to prolonged stress can be dramatically alleviated by setting boundaries to protect your well-being. 

Boundaries are designed to protect your physical, emotional, and mental wellness. If and when you feel stressed at work, pay close attention to what is happening, who’s causing you stress, and the situation itself. 

Say you’re asked to complete a task with an unrealistic deadline. Setting a boundary in this situation means that you explain your current workload and what you’re capable of on short notice. Being professional and calm is essential, but setting boundaries for yourself is just as important. 

Ultimately, standing firm on your boundaries and what you’re willing to do is not selfish or lazy. You know your limits and what you’re capable of—your workplace and superiors should fully support you in communicating your needs.

The Best Professional Boundaries Definition for Administrative Professionals 

Setting healthy boundaries in the workplace is a unique experience because everyone has their own triggers, stressors, and expectations. Here are the best ways to determine healthy boundaries, no matter your role in the organization.

Take Care of Your Needs, Too 

At the end of the day, a job is just that — a job. We all need to work to pay our bills and support ourselves and our families. Yet, that doesn’t mean that your needs can’t be met in the workplace.

As an administrative professional, much of your job description involves caring for others. Your passion for helping others succeed in their jobs fuels what you do on a daily basis. 

However, you can’t succeed in your job if your own needs aren’t being met. Taking breaks during the day to catch your breath is a helpful way for administrative and executive assistants, office managers, and other administrative professionals to recenter themselves. Know what helps you calm down when you’re feeling stressed, and be sure to give yourself time to reset during the workday. 

Know Your Limits

While some people have no issue with working late or coming in on the weekends, that may be a hard stop for you. Take time to reflect on your personal limits at work and know where you need to draw the line. 

There may be scenarios where you have to make exceptions, but they are just that — an exception. Stress and burnout come from feeling unsupported at work and like your feelings or needs don’t matter. Setting limits that are respected by your colleagues can make all the difference. 

Create Your Self-Care Routine

Self-care looks different for everyone, and that’s why it’s so important to advocate for yourself in the workplace. What works for your coworkers may not work for you. 

As an administrative professional, the tasks you complete on a daily basis can be draining. You constantly communicate with team members and are pulled in many different directions. So, your self-care routine may include quiet time, yoga, meditation, journaling, or simply listening to calming music for a few minutes. 

Advocate For Yourself to Avoid Burnout at Work 

Preventing prolonged stress and avoiding burnout starts with creating an actionable plan to combat what triggers you. Check out ASAP’s helpful webinar on practicing self-care as an administrative professional. 

You’ll learn how taking care of yourself is just as important as checking off your to-do list by the end of the day. Remember that your mental and emotional wellness is just as valuable as your productivity at the office. 

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