Ongoing outpatient therapy and sober group activities are paramount for continuing to develop one’s identity and lifestyle in their sobriety. However, work and personal life can always be a source of stress, and learning to manage these stresses is essential.
One of the most effective ways for managing this stress is to have clear boundaries between oneself and professional peers. Setting effective professional boundaries is not just important for managing stress but also for continuing to prioritize one’s sobriety and balance one’s newfound lifestyle in their freedom from the use of drugs and alcohol.
Communication is the cornerstone of all kinds of relationships. While open communication and honesty are paramount for one’s personal relationships, effective use of communication strategies is also useful in the workplace.
Regardless of what boundaries one sets with professional peers, it is important to be able to communicate these boundaries as needed. Coworkers or upper management will not simply guess how one is feeling or what may be crossing some of one’s personal boundaries, and firmly establishing and communicating these boundaries can help keep them solidly in place throughout one’s tenure in the position.
Employ Blackout Times
Many jobs may contact an individual even while they are off work, either with incoming emails, texts, phone calls, or other queries. Sometimes this is unavoidable—an unfortunate stressor of the professional world. However, employing blackout times can provide a degree of control to manage these times while balancing one’s personal life.
Blackout times are times when one’s phone is turned completely off or when one is otherwise unable to be contacted. Turning off one’s phone after a certain time, such as during dinner or at a predetermined time of night, can provide a person the agency to control when they can be contacted, providing time for one to focus on their personal lives, interests, hobbies, and relationships. Having oneself completely blacked out from communication can allow an individual to provide a similar break for their minds.
Avoid After-Work Hangouts
Going out after work can be a common workplace practice. While going to the bar is an overt and extremely dangerous prospect for those managing their sobriety, even going out to sober events should be thought about before engaging.
Hanging out with coworkers, even with the best of intentions, can lead to some complex situations. It can begin to blur the line between one’s professional life and personal life, compromising some of the structure one may want for their continued sober efforts.
While this doesn’t mean that one should never spend time with coworkers, it can be beneficial to limit how often one engages in these activities in order to maintain clear boundaries between one’s personal life and their professional persona.
Manage Personal Information
For some, keeping the professional sphere strictly professional can provide the best structure for managing one’s daily life. This can mean keeping things like one’s home or personal cell number private or avoiding sharing too many personal details about one’s life outside of the workplace. This can help ensure that one isn’t contacted through personal channels outside of work with workplace-related stresses while keeping one’s professional life the focus while at work.
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Learn to Say “No”
Saying “no” is a powerful thing, but it’s something many people struggle with. Saying “no” to workplace peers can be a massive exercise in agency.
It is okay to be unavailable to cover another’s shift or to say if one doesn’t feel comfortable or prepared to help with a certain duty. Saying “no” ensures that one’s boundaries are clearly defined and keeps the focus on one’s personal needs rather than compromising one’s own stress levels for the sake of another.
Gossip can be rampant in the workplace, but gossip is never victimless. Avoiding gossip can be crucial for managing one’s stress and can help an individual distance themselves from miscommunication and prevent the development of unnecessarily antagonistic relationships.
Ensuring one does not get wrapped up in gossip can further separate one’s personal life from those of their workplace peers by not making assumptions or peering into others’ personal lives, all while helping an individual avoid workplace toxicity.
While having positive, friendly relationships with workplace peers is fine and even encouraged, it is also important to be sure that one’s boundaries in the workplace are firmly established and respected. There is no shortage of stresses throughout daily life, and those balancing their sobriety and professional lives are faced with battles every day. Continuing to prioritize one’s sobriety and attending outpatient aftercare programs are excellent approaches to maintaining one’s progress in recovery.
Professional life comes with a myriad of stresses. Those balancing their mental and emotional health, sobriety, and energy will need to set effective boundaries with coworkers and peers. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we understand the unique trials of the workplace, whether you are dealing with the stresses therein or looking to reintroduce yourself to the workforce following a dedicated residential treatment program. Our unique approach to Hawaiian rehabilitation includes not just our residential alcohol treatment and drug abuse treatment center, but also aftercare programs to help you transition into a healthy daily life while dealing with the stresses and responsibilities of the “real world.” Our supportive sober community of peers and professionals can provide a safe space to tackle your trials with addiction, all while helping you learn to set effective boundaries with peers in the workplace. For more information, call us today at (866) 390-5070.