For many women, finding time for ourselves is a big challenge. We know we should focus on our own health so we are better equipped to take care of all of those we love, but we often put our needs last. And when we hear and read that we have to make time for ourselves, we just don’t know how to squeeze one more thing in our busy day.
I’ve found that it’s not always a matter of saying “yes” to ourselves but more about saying “no” to others — no to things we don’t really want to do but feel obligated to do, no to things we think we should do, even no to things we think we have to do.
This idea hit me while on a scout field trip with seven girls and two co-leaders. After we had reached the water park and the leaders were chatting while the girls were splashing around, one of the adults revealed that she was glad that the outing would be over soon. I looked at her perplexed; she said it had been causing her stress just knowing that it was coming up. She wanted that stress to go away. This was a rare troop field trip that we had planned on our own well in advance, because it was a destination the girls really wanted to visit. Yet one of the leaders knew before the trip even happened that she would be relieved when it was over.
While I love to cross items off my to-do list, I don’t think of fun activities as something I’m eagerly waiting to finish — so I can stop stressing about them. I may get a sense of accomplishment for completing a fun excursion just as I do for completing a productive day, but I don’t relish the idea of getting it over with; I relish the idea of enjoying the event.
We were both attending the same event and both had preparations to handle before the event, but we had different attitudes towards this looming field trip. I looked forward to a great time, but she was glad to get it over with.
Do you “get through” each day or “have a blast” each day?
While I realize it’s pretty tough to look back on a busy day filled with working, errands, and coordinating schedules as “having a blast.” I do think it’s possible for women to end many of those days drinking in the pleasure of any bits and pieces of enjoyment that happened along the way.
If you are dreading something or very stressed anticipating it, perhaps that is the time to dig deep and say no – a word moms use a lot with their kids but don’t use often enough to other adults.
By saying no to others, you will finally have the time to say yes to yourself to fit in at least some of the things in your life that you enjoy and that you want to do to be healthy — physically, mentally, emotionally. After you say no, then you can find the time to say yes to a new habit that you wish you had time for, such as exercising.
I challenge you to find something that you really want to do but haven’t been able to find the time. What is it that you really want to say “yes” to? What can you say “no” to in order to make some time and space in your life? It’s your decision, and you should start now. You’ll be glad you did!