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BCTF Advantage
Teacher Magazine Volume 30, Number 1
September/October 2017

How well do you manage boundaries?

By By Dr. Andrew Miki, registered psychologist

Take the quiz

Can I say “no” to colleagues, students, or parents?
Do I spend longer hours at school to keep up or catch up?
Am I working through recess and lunch?
Can I delegate tasks to others?
Am I indecisive (struggling to assign final grades, questioning the quality of my work)?
Do I procrastinate on important items that need to be completed, like report cards and Individual Education Plans?

Do I have a hard time saying “no” to others?
Do I tend to smother or overprotect others?
Do I lash out at others?
Am I overly concerned about what others think?
Do I need a lot of reassurance from others?

Do I neglect my own health and self-care to increase my output or help others?
Do I consistently set goals that are too lofty?
Do I beat myself up and/or engage in a lot of negative self-talk?
Do I frequently experience negative emotions like sadness, guilt, anger, anxiety, worry, shame?
Do I consistently spend more time on tasks/activities than initially intended?
Do I have time for hobbies or activities that help me recharge?

Busy teachers are often pressured to stretch their boundaries. When your plate is full, and you tell a colleague you can't oblige their request, you may feel guilty about letting them down or worry they may be upset. You may acquiesce to avoid emotional distress.

Committing to stop working at Time X and leave school at Time Y is a clear personal boundary. Saying “no” to someone is a clear interpersonal boundary. Holding firm to your boundaries, while being open to evidence-based feedback, reinforces professional and personal integrity.

Being as proactive with your mental health as you are with your physical health means you are in a much better position to handle unexpected stressors. If you feel your batteries running down, it's time to consider the long-term professional, interpersonal, and personal costs.

To monitor your battery energy level, consider taking a Starling assessment and signing up for Mental Fitness Challenges throughout the year. Starling is a free, confidential, online mental health and wellness tool, tailored specifically for BC teachers. It's designed to assess, monitor, and improve your mental fitness using educational videos and evidence-based strategies. BCTF members and their family members are invited to use it online, anywhere, and anytime. Sign up at

Struggling with setting boundaries? We're here to help!
By Allan Lee
, BCTF Health and Wellness co-ordinator

Self-care is critical to well-being and contributes to career longevity and job satisfaction. If you're struggling with personal or professional boundaries that affect your well-being, here's how the BCTF Health and Wellness Program can help.

Living with Balance is a six-week group workshop program offering opportunities to learn physical and psychological self-care, develop healthy boundaries and balance, and practise stress management. Utilizing a holistic approach to wellness, we emphasize lifestyle changes to improve well-being.

Self-care wellness sessions
We offer wellness sessions that highlight strategies for personal and professional self-care. Sessions include a focus on mindfulness, helping others, compassion fatigue, and nutrition.
Return-to-work and work sustainability
We support members experiencing illness, injury, or disability who require additional resources to return to work in a healthy and sustainable way. We may fund individualized assessments and treatment services for physical and psychological well-being.

For more information visit or call the Income Security Division at 1-800-663-9163.  

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