Happy Friday everyone! Here's hoping that you have all had a good week, and are ready to have an even better weekend! As my blog post title suggests, and for those of you who know me, I am a huge advocate of saying NO. In my / our book Dear Stress, I'm Breaking Up With You, I wrote that your no has just as much power as your yes. True story. How many of us are saying yes to things we want to say no to? And saying no to the opportunities that we want to say yes to? What does this look like for each of us? Today, I'll give you 3 tips or strategies that you can utilize on a daily basis, so that this muscle gets stronger every time you exercise it.
What do I mean when I say that saying no is a healthy practice? Does this mean that I am going to be grumpy, upset, mope around all day, and of course shoot down every opportunity that I am presented with in life? Of course not. It just means that I say no to the things that do not fulfill me. I say no to interactions that drain me. I say no to what does not bring me happiness, and does not enrich my life holistically. Saying no is a healthy habit that can be developed one step at a time. It is a muscle that needs to be exercised on a daily basis. It helps you let go of unhealthy patterns, habits, behaviours, relationships, and pretty much anything that does not contribute to your life in a positive manner. Saying no is pretty much a crash course in self-care 101. This will look and feel different to each of us. For some, it might mean slowing down completely, and just taking a step back to reset, and examine their life so they can bounce back without feeling overwhelmed. For others, it might mean still being in "hustle mode," but actually hustling for ventures that fulfill them. And yet, for others, it can look like ensuring they don't fill up their plate to the brim, not just during weekdays, but also on weekends.
What does saying "No" look like for me?
As a woman of many hats personally and professionally, saying no opens me up to living a life of choice, a life by design, a life of limitless possibilities, and potential. It is crucial to make self-care a priority so that I can be and deliver my best self to my loved ones, my businesses, my clients, and most of all, to myself. However, this habit didn't come easily, it took me quite a few years to develop this. And to be honest, there are still some days where I completely overbook, over-plan, over-schedule myself, only to find myself running the hamster wheel...again! As women, I feel that we give so much of ourselves, we are always creating and birthing projects, businesses, ventures, and relationships (our family, clients, friends). We take care of our tribe. But what about doing this for ourselves as well? What happens when we realize we have assigned our own self-care to the back seat? To me, this is when I put my 3 step reset plan into action, and it helps me put the self back into self-care.
1. Stop. Breathe. Reflect. Unplug - Life is always going to throw curveballs your way, but what matters is how you handle them, and how you respond. As I type this blog post, I think back to my day today - I have finally managed to calm down a cranky 11 month old baby who has been crying all morning, and virtually clinging to me like his life depends on it. My hair and my home are both a mess today. I have boatloads of manuscript editing to complete, and I need to make time to work on my wellness coaching business. I have yet to run home and business errands, and somewhere in there, dinner needs to be made, dishes need to be done, my child needs my care and attention, my spouse and I are looking forward to connecting with each other after a hectic week, and I still need to pack for tomorrow's out of town wedding. Oh, and did I forget to mention that somewhere in there, I need to eat, sleep, and tend to myself? Pretty much everything around me, including myself needs to be tended to. So you see, I feel like I am practically "on" all the time. I'm sure quite a few of you can perhaps relate to this. Looking back, I could have gotten even more upset, or grumpy, or just been angry all day, but instead, I know that I am feeling this way because I am tired, and I haven't taken some time to just relax, and breathe a bit. This awareness would have not taken place if I did not take few moments every hour or so, and remind myself to stop, breathe, reflect. This can mean repeating a mantra, or simply an appreciation statement such as I am enough, or, I am doing the best that I can with all that I have. Other times, it just means literally taking a deep breath, and just sitting in silence for a bit - be it a few minutes, or an hour, or two. Doing so helps me realize that I am choosing how I view and respond to what happens around me. I, not the people or events around me, have the power over my life and how it unfolds. Matter of perspective.
2. Examine your plate, and only eat what you absolutely need, and what nourishes you. The food fanatic in me loves writing a metaphor for life using food as its subject. We take on so many ventures and interactions, to the point of always being on all the time, only to feel burnt out. Examine all that you have taken on in your life right now, and work your way backward. See what you really truly need, and let go of all the other extras. You will be a much better person doing a few things really well, rather than spreading yourself really thin trying to be all things to all people, and all ventures to all clients. I'm all for pushing one's limits, but do not over extend yourself at the cost of your own health and wellbeing. Establish boundaries - for yourself and those around you. It'll teach you to respect and prioritize yourself more, and others will follow suit. Learn to nourish yourself so that you can nourish others too. I talk more about this in my / our book, Dear Stress, I'm Breaking Up With You.
3. Ask for help. Utilize your tribe. Would you believe it if I told you that the village still lives and very much exists? The only condition is that we need to stop being afraid, and ask for the help that we need. I truly believe that you get what you need when you need it, provided you ask for it. I would not be able to do all that I do personally and professionally, were it not for having the help and support of my spouse and both our moms. They constantly help me realize that I do not have to do everything myself, and that it's okay to sometimes just order take out instead of cooking, forgoing the cleaning and tidying up just so I can have some time to nap with my son, and get some rest. And sometimes, we all totally Netflix, put on a face mask, and chill! Other times, this involves hangouts with my girlfriends, or planning entire self care days just to myself, so that I can come back refreshed and rejuvenated.
And moreover, I am able to be a WAHM (Work At Home Mom), thanks to my amazing colleague and partner, and founder of GBR Publications Agency - Ky-Lee Hanson. Working with women has its own creative flow, and helps nurture you as an individual, as well as part of a greater collective. I am grateful to have the flexibility I have, to do what I love doing, and to be who I really am, and pursue my dreams of working from home while being able to be there for my family. Have I mastered the art of welding these two areas in successfully? No, not yet, but I am learning to do so, and will get there soon enough. To me, life is always a series of tweaks, trials, errors, and a call for help during the times you feel stuck or overwhelmed.
I trust that this was an insightful read which you will be able to apply in your lives. If there is one thing I want you to take away as you head into your weekend, it is this - Choose self-love. Reflect and breathe throughout your day. Unplug for a while. Ask for help - it's always there, all you have to do is ask. And most of all, be kind to yourself. You are enough. You got this!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Tania Jane Moraes-Vaz is an international best-selling author, freelance editor, lifestyle photographer, speaker, and holistic wellness coach. She loves spreading PCOS awareness and empowering women and their families lead a healthy and holistic lifestyle through her writing and coaching.
She lives in Mississauga, Ontario with her husband, Alan and her son, Arnold.
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