Hello again, and Happy Friday! This evening I have a wedding rehearsal to attend with Michael, and the whole day tomorrow will be dedicated to his sister’s wedding. This means one thing for us – BUSY! Busy has been the trend for both of us — but especially for Michael — for the last six weeks. The good news is, we have a light at the end of our tunnel. After tomorrow we finally get some downtime with nothing scheduled.
If you noticed that I missed my Mediterranean Monday post — well there’s a reason for that! I had a recipe chosen and everything, but my camera battery died on October 2nd while taking pictures at Hunter’s confirmation and I have yet to charge it! I also have yet to edit any of those photos, which is why more than a week later none have been shared on my social media pages. No camera battery = no photos of my dish for Mediterranean Monday. And so…I just skipped it!
I’ve done that a lot this past week, because I needed to. I had been so overwhelmed with obligations and responsibilities that this week, I just needed some down time, and so I took it. The main focus of this blog is health, and while diet is my number one priority where health is concerned, our mental and emotional health is another very big part of that equation.
In today’s world, stress is everywhere. There are always more obligations and scheduled events than there are hours in a day, or so it seems. We have a world that is more plagued with anxiety and depression than it has ever been, which means the need to unplug and recharge is greater than it’s ever been. Even if you are not going through, or healing from, some traumatic event, you may very well be stressed to the point of anxiety just from your day-to-day life.
This is where I tell you, “it is okay to just say no.” If you’re like me, you love your friends and family, and maybe you really love feeling wanted, needed, and/or helpful. So when something comes up you say YES!! without hesitation. And then afterwards you start to feel the pull of the obligation you just committed yourself to. You start to look at your calendar and realize you have no time to yourself. You don’t have a chance any time in your near future to take some “me” time to recharge. And as you navigate your way through the events on your calendar you start to feel drained, anxious, and even cranky from taking on too much.
And that, my friends, is why it’s okay to say no. In fact, it’s HEALTHY to say no, and to know your limits. By now you’ve surely heard the saying “you have to take care of yourself first before you can give yourself to others”. By saying no, you are taking care of yourself. You are giving yourself time to reset and recharge. You are easing your stress and anxiety, and filling your energy tank back up to the top.
When I say it’s okay to say no, I mean…saying no to invites for dinner, saying no to un-required work events, saying no to optional meetings and appointments, saying no to requests for help from family, even saying no to your house work and laundry! Sometimes, everything that is an obligation or a responsibility (except your kids, of course, if you’re a parent, or your job) needs to move to the back burner for your peace of mind.
And when you say no to those things, there is no need to feel guilty for it! People who care about you will understand. And if they don’t understand? Well, then, simply put…they’ll get over it. I don’t mean for that to sound harsh, but there are times when you need to cut off your habit of caring too much about the opinions of others to focus instead on your own needs.
For me personally (and Michael), we’ve been going nonstop since our Chicago trip on September 6-8. We’ve had kid weekends filled with camping, zoo trips and movie outings. Michael had a work trip, plus his son had twice-a-week soccer games the entire month of September. Logan started up SRE again in September as well and has that every Wednesday night. I’ve had interviews for school assignments, shopping and putting together outfits for all of us for the wedding, plus hair appointments and Hunter’s confirmation practice followed by confirmation, and then Hunter’s first high school homecoming a couple of days after that, and then Michael had a “diapers for dad” party for his brother-in-law.
This week has finally been calmer for me, except for parent teacher conferences last night. And of course all the wedding stuff tonight and tomorrow. Michael and I both decided that, after tomorrow, we are saying no to everything. Sunday night Gabe goes to his mom’s for the week and we get to have a date night. Then next weekend my boys go to their dad’s and we will have our very first completely kid-free weekend since September 7th. Already things have come up for that weekend. I have two friends plus a sister with birthdays that weekend and the birthday invites have rolled in, along with a gender reveal party invitation and a work party invitation a couple days after that. I love my friends and family, but…
We promised each other there would be no obligating ourselves to anything that weekend long before these events started pouring in, and we’re keeping our word. It’s a weekend for the two of us to spend however we want it, without any plans, responsibilities, or obligations. If the time comes and we feel like going to a birthday dinner or a house party, then we’ll go. And if we’re not in the mood, we won’t. And the people we love will just have to celebrate without us, because it’s been too much and we need a break.
That is what I mean by saying no. And if you feel you need an excuse to turn down an invitation, then you have one… “I’m sorry, but I have other plans.” The truth is, you do have other plans. You have plans with yourself. For next weekend, I actually put on the calendar “Us time! Everyone else is SOL :)”. Anything else that comes up during that time is a schedule conflict with our free time! I chose to do this, because sometimes you need to schedule “me time” simply to make sure that you actually get it.
Just because you have a day on the calendar with nothing scheduled, doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to fill it up if something arises. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed and anxious, and you find a block of time in your schedule where you can take time for yourself, then schedule that time for yourself and consider anything else that comes up during that time to be a conflict with previous plans. Repeat after me — “sorry, I already have plans”…because you do have plans. With yourself.
Now then…I’m off to get ready for my evening plans. I’m showered and my hair is washed, but I still have clothes to iron, makeup to apply, hair to style, and a dress to put on. Wish me luck for this final 32-hour stretch of crazy before my obligation-free time can commence!