Mental Health: How Organizing Your Life Helps you Set Better Boundaries Around Your Mental Health

The work I do is a precursor to helping people address their mental health and well- being. Decluttering and organizing your life means it’s easier to do self-care! Along the way it’s an opportunity to see patterns that are rigid and cause you stress.

In the past I’ve written blogs about setting boundaries with your time, space and belongings. I’d like to go deeper into the topic of boundaries and how they can be used to  improve your mental health and well-being.

You may be asking yourself what does this have to do with having an organized life? Lots because everything is connected! For example, if you are doing too much for others, then you can’t stay on top of your own life organization. It is very likely that if you have a hard time setting boundaries in your relationships, this will show up as chaos, clutter or disorganisation in your life, time and spaces.

What are Healthy Boundaries

Positive Psychology has many great resources around boundaries. In their article, “How to Set Healthy Boundaries”, they explain that we create boundaries to ensure we stay mentally and emotionally stable. Your chosen boundaries  are your limits or space between you and other people, a clear place where you begin and the other person ends. This helps you protect and take good care of yourself. Another way to look at it is what you are willing and not willing to accept in any relationship or encounter. 

It’s important to set, re-establish and voice your boundaries otherwise it leads to anger, resentment, anxiety, stress and health problems ( physically, emotionally and psychologically). They help you establish your identity and communicate clearly what you are and are not responsible for. This is extremely important now since living and working dynamics have changed drastically in the last two years. 

By setting boundaries you give yourself the best chance to be emotionally and mentally healthy. They also influence others in a positive way when you set healthy ones. This creates a strong sense of autonomy and prevents you from burnout. 

Boundaries essentially affect every aspect of your life: your finances, relationships, career, health, lifestyle, and time management. This is why it’s so important to get clear on your values first and then see what boundaries you need to set. By doing this you stay connected to yourself, what’s important to you and what you are willing to put up with. 

How Having Poor Boundaries Affects Your Mental Health

The main concerns with not setting healthy boundaries are around relationships. If you don’t set boundaries with others at work, home or with your extended family, you run the risk of overdoing it, burning out and falling into mental illness. 

What poor boundaries look like:

  • Putting the needs of others before your own needs

  • Doing things for people that they can do themselves

  • No limits around what you are willing to do for to others

  • Others not taking initiative because they know you will do it in the end

  • Don’t take time for self care – “I don’t have time” mentality

Boundaries In Relationships

Regardless if we look at a romantic relationship, friendship or work relationship, each has basic principles that allow you to draw your lines and stand your ground. 

Basic Rights in a Relationship

  1. To feel safe in a relationship

  2. To have your privacy and boundaries respected

  3. To be heard and listened to

  4. To feel validated

  5. To be appreciated and valued

  6. To respect that “no” means “no”

  7. To have your needs met

  8. To be treated respectfully- absence of emotional, physical, or verbal abuse

If there are a number of these on the list that you don’t feel are being met in any relationship it’s helpful to get clear on what type of dynamic is creating a break in your boundaries. From there you can look at some basic tools to help you set better boundaries particularly around your mental health

Assess your relationships

Take some time to note  who is and isn’t respecting your boundaries and if you need to look at changing the dynamic or ending the relationship. Going through this process most likely will be uncomfortable, however, the results are very empowering and freeing!

Don’t apologize 

Often, especially us Canadians, apologize for everything. There is no need to apologize for setting boundaries and being honest. You’re not responsible for other people’s emotions and reactions. It’s also important to note that this isn’t something that happens after one conversation. It takes time and practice and an ongoing dialogue with those you are involved with. 

Be honest and firm

It’s important to be honest and transparent so that the other person can understand where you are coming from. This makes it easier for them to uphold the boundary you are setting. However, this also depends on the nature of the relationship. You can be upfront and honest without giving details; this is important particularly if you are dealing with someone who has toxic behaviour, mentally illness, or is in a place where they are being illogical. 

Protect Your Mental Health

It’s important to understand that looking out for yourself does not equate with being selfish! Most of all it’s key to go within first and see where you are at with your own boundaries around your self care and life management. 

Ask yourself these questions to help you assess and set new boundaries:

  1. What can you give or how much – doesn’t have to be all or nothing

  2. Are you able to say no when you need to take time for yourself?

  3. Ask yourself, what would happen if I didn’t help?

  4. Who else could help them?

  5. Is it something they can do on their own?

  6. Can I let someone else do it even if it’s not the way I like it done?

  7. What are you willing and not willing to let go of?

Once you’ve answered those questions, think about how and when you will communicate needs, have check-ins and what approach you will take for  conflict resolution. This may vary based on the type of relationship and the dynamic you have with the person. 

How to Set Boundaries In Your Time + Space For Better Mental Health

Before jumping in and assessing your relationships, see what the dynamics are like and then begin setting boundaries, it’s a good idea to start within. Try going through a value setting exercise, like the one I do with clients, to see what’s important to you and how you can close the gap between your values and the life you are living. 

This is where organizing your life comes in handy. If you see that health is really important to you yet you stay up late, eat, take out too much and don’t exercise, then something has to change. Creating an environment to match your values and goals helps support you in making both inner and outer changes. 

When your space is set up to support you in your self care, career and relationships it makes it easier to stay on top of your life and ready for anything when your freezer is packed with healthy prepared food:)

Questions To Ask Yourself Around Setting Boundaries


  • What makes sense to keep? What items align with your values and goals?

  • What supports your mental health and well being?

  • What types of items do you want to buy? ie. good quality that lasts, second hand when possible etc.

  • How are you going to care for your belongings? What’s your relationship to them? How is it a reflection on how you take care of yourself?


  • Do you feel like you never have enough time?

  • Do you balance your time between work, self-care, socializing and personal responsibilities?

  • How much practical help can you provide at home? (meals, budgeting, grocery shopping, transportation)


  • Are you using your space in a way that creates chaos and confusion?

  • What physical boundaries do you need to set to support your mental health? ie. leaving your phone in the kitchen at night when you go to bed so you don’t end up on social media when you’re supposed to be sleeping


  • How much financial support are you able and willing to provide?

  • What are your boundaries around buying non-essentials like food, rent/mortgage, phone?

  • What are you willing to pay for items like internet, phone, TV services? Do you really need to get the more expensive cable package when the basic will do just fine?

Like anything, real change takes time and involves going through a process. By beginning with setting values and goals, asking yourself these questions, and lots of practicing you’ll get clearer and clearer on what’s important to you and how to stay connected to it. This process is very insightful, eye opening and most of all supports you and your mental health. 

the handbook


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