Are you suffering from a case of “I’m Too Busy Syndrome”? For many of us, being over-scheduled and over-committed is zapping our happiness. It’s easy to fill up our days with responsibilities and distractions only to find we’ve neglected ourselves.
As moms, we’re used to giving, giving, giving. Taking care of others is our job. But if we don’t have boundaries and learn to say “no”, we’ll be burnt out and resentful.
Many women make the mistake of considering their personal needs, goals, and hobbies as optional. We will attend to them only if there is time left over. Or parents think, “I’ll get back to playing tennis once the kids are older”. Now, seriously, when is the last time you had extra time? I’m guessing it was back in college.
We can’t wait until there’s spare time. We have to make time for ourselves and our relationships.
The best defense is scheduling time for our needs first rather than last. Plan a time to go to the gym or have lunch with a friend. Write it on your calendar. Don't cancel and don’t make excuses.
And sometimes we need to make time by saying no to things that really don't align with our skills or interests. Author Paulo Coelho reminds us, “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.” When you sign-up to chair another school fundraiser to take on a big client, what are you giving up? We all have limited time and energy and need to use them intentionally for things that bring the most meaning and happiness.
Learning to say “no” can be hard. But there are also benefits.
The benefits of saying “no” are:
- It reflects self-worth.
- It protects your physical and emotional health (more rested, improved mood).
- You spend time on what matters to you.
- Use your time, money and other resources wisely.
- Allows others the opportunity to participate.
- People respect an honest answer.
- Sets a good example.
If you're still insisting that there is no possible way for you to have some "me time", I have to call you out. There's always time for whatever you prioritize. Did you plunk yourself down, wine glass in hand, in front of the TV or computer today? How much time did you whittle away on Facebook? Perhaps that is your self-care. If it truly relaxes you and brings you joy, then carry on. For most of us it's just a distraction; a way to zone out when we're too tired for real self-care.
You are important not because you’re someone’s mom, wife, daughter or employee. You matter just because you’re you. It’s time to say “yes” to yourself.
For more tips on saying “no”, check out this post.
Keep in touch – follow me on Twitter @SMartinLCSW
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