Boundaries to avoid burnout

Boundaries to avoid burnout

What do healthy boundaries look like to you? By Paula Hines

I’ve never had a 9 to 5 job. Before I started teaching yoga and became self-employed, I worked in TV for 14 years, where a fixed workday didn’t really exist. By this I mean there were standard hours in theory, but in practice, we all usually worked longer hours.

If you were on a production those hours could be extremely long indeed. I remember days of being in the office at 1am. And even if you were not in the office, you were reachable by email or phone. It was the norm. For the most part, it was expected.

This is a common story across many industries and when I became self-employed it was something I wanted to leave behind.

The reality of being a self-employed yoga teacher brought different challenges, I found, particularly when relying on teaching for the majority (if not all) of your income. There were still long or awkward hours including all of the unseen, unpaid admin and planning that needs to be done outside of teaching. But I thought it would be okay because I was doing something I loved.

Not true. Even when you love what you do you need time to recoup. Loving what you do is not protection from burnout. Just because it is available to us to work all hours, it does not mean we should.

Just because technology means many of us are reachable at all times, it does not mean we need to be available at all times. If you are a yoga teacher sending work-related messages at 11pm I’d question whether that is really essential, or healthy.

Two simple boundaries around technology I’ve implemented that have helped me are:

1. Not replying to, or sending work-related messages outside the hours of 9am and 6pm.
2. Not using social media (which is an extension of my work) on Sundays.

The latter I call ‘Switch Off Sundays’, which I have been doing since 2017, and the former I have become stricter about over the past year. I also switched off all message alerts a few years ago.

Yoga teachers are often giving a lot. And, as householders, there are all the areas outside teaching that need our attention too. Our nervous systems have a lot to deal with. What boundaries can you put in place to look after yourself?

Paula Hines is a London-based yoga teacher and writer. Find out more about her online yoga offerings, including her REST + RENEW eBook to help you get started with your restorative yoga practice at home, via her website:

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