Setting Boundaries in Relationships for Better Mental Health

Living with mental health issues can bring about negative side effects that can impact relationships with friends, family, and partners. So, during recovery from mental health issues, it’s important to be open to making changes in order to heal impacted relationships. Some of these changes include implementing healthy boundaries in relationships. During treatment and counseling for mental health issues, you’ll learn about setting boundaries in relationships that can help with communication, protecting your recovery, and more. This way, the relationships in your life are allowed healing and you can promote a structured group of support that’s willing to provide you with the encouragement that’s required for optimal recovery success.

Setting boundaries in relationships while in mental health recovery means taking the responsibility that’s needed to heal relationships. There are a number of ways to start setting healthy boundaries in relationships that are effective including:

Gather Ideas About What you Need for Healthy Relationships

Before setting and establishing boundaries with the people you love, it’s important to get an idea of what the boundaries will be. To get a better understanding of the boundaries you will set, you need to identify what you need from your relationships. Some examples of what you may need in relationships can include:

  • having alone time in order to relax and re-energize
  • being able to have a quiet place where you can focus and finish projects
  • more time to finish projects or tasks
  • more independence if you’re keeping up with your recovery initiatives
  • more support and help in order to keep on track with recovery goals

Before setting boundaries with those who care about you and your recovery, it’s important to understand not only what you want but what you need from your relationships. This way, when you do express boundaries and enforce them, your loved ones will understand these needs and wants and may be more willing to cooperate.

Set Small Boundaries First

Setting and enforcing boundaries can be hard – especially when you haven’t done so in the past. So, it can be helpful to start small in order to practice. Remember that you deserve to get the support you need from the people you love. And, that setting boundaries is the way to maintain healthy relationships – so, don’t feel guilty for having to establish your boundaries. Some examples of setting small boundaries can include giving yourself permission to spend more time alone or in a quiet space for an hour or so each day.

Set Specific Boundaries for Different Relationships

Different relationships have different needs as you may need different things from different people. In many cases of boundary setting in mental health recovery, new boundaries will encompass needing personal time to figure out how you’re feeling, work on recovery initiatives and goals, and take time to go to therapy sessions. Therefore, your time is even more precious, as the people you want to spend the remainder of your time with should mean a lot to you. This can make it even more difficult to spend time with friends and acquaintances. Therefore, boundaries for close friends and your partner will look different from other friend groups and acquaintances. Don’t be afraid to set more strict boundaries with certain people and looser boundaries with others – depending on your needs and the time you have available for your social life.

Be Clear and Communicate Your Needs and Expectations

When you’re clear about your needs and expectations for others, they are more likely to follow suit with what you’re asking. When setting your boundaries with people you love, make sure that they understand that the boundaries are set for you and your healing journey – that these boundaries aren’t for them. Making changes to relationships is a good way to ensure that your mental health is going to flourish. So, ensure that the people you love understand that these boundaries are a good thing – not a negative thing. Furthermore, when setting boundaries, communicate exactly what you expect, whether it’s less time spent with certain people, needing quiet time, or even more support when it comes to helping to meet mental health goals. When you’re open and honest, the people you love will better understand why you need boundaries and that they’re important to follow.

Help With Relationships During Mental Health Recovery

Do you find having relationships is hard while also dealing with the symptoms of living with a mental health issue? Getting professional help through treatment and counseling is a great way to learn about boundary setting and healthy relationships. Southcoast Psychiatric Services offers tools and counseling for people dealing with relationship and communication issues while concurrently getting help for mental health issues. Find out more about our services and facility on our website to begin your journey to mental wellbeing.