Someone told me today that saying, “No,” can be an act of mindfulness.
When someone needs help, or when you’re presented with exciting plans or a new opportunity, people often respond with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” without thinking about it too much. You want to help the person that needs you, you want to be included in the plans, and you don’t want to pass up a new opportunity. Opening yourself up to a new task, plan, or opportunity can be extremely gratifying and rewarding if you have the time and energy to truly commit and enjoy what you are doing. However, if you are stretched thin and not taking care of yourself in the best way you can, these extra tasks and opportunities could add a great deal of stress to your life.
The next time you are asked for help, presented with plans or a new opportunity, try taking some time before making a decision. Let the person know that you need to check your calendar first or simply ask for a day to get back to them. This extra time will give you a chance to really look at your day/week/month/life and ask yourself if you truly have the time and energy to commit to what’s being asked of you. If you’re having trouble deciding, here are some questions you can ask yourself that might give you some clarity.
How have I been feeling on a day to day basis? Stressed? Frustrated? Tired?
Have I been taking the time to exercise, eat well, and cook?
Have I been taking time in my life to do the things I love?
Have I had time to enjoy being with friends and family?
If the answers to many of these questions is yes, you might want to consider saying no to taking on something else. Perhaps this is a good time to look at your schedule and see how you can adjust things so you can take better care of yourself and enjoy your days more. Remember, “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others.”