Just say “no”…
A couple weeks ago, I was with a friend and she mentioned how overwhelmed she felt in the last week. I asked what was making her feel that way and she said all the running with kids, plus having extra activities at night. She was rambling off all the commitments..book club, golf, movie night, happy hour, boating with a friend… I was honestly worn out just listening to all of the activities. I know they all sound terrific, if you are overloading your time, you will never enjoy it. You will be too busy thinking about how stressed you are to even enjoy the moment you are in.
Of course, my question was why are you doing all that. I asked ‘if you are feeling overwhelmed, then why don’t you just say no?’
And she looked at me like she had never thought of that before…
I said, “ you know you can say “no”. You do not have to attend every book club or wine party or movie night. Just say “no” if you do not feel like going. If it is making you feel overwhelmed and stressed by constantly being that busy, then just say “no”. Decide what is most important to you.
We all only have so much time in the week, as much as we all want to do everything we just can not. I know many times the idea of fitting everything in sounds great and then life happens. Unexpected things come up throughout the week and we get overwhelmed.
I used to overbook myself all the time, I would have an activity every night of the week. I write about this a lot because I feel so many of us overbook ourselves to a breaking point. I would get to a point where I would be so stressed out and didn’t want to do anything. Finally, I just learned to say “no”… If I do not have an interest in going to something, I just have to say ‘no”.
My friends know me by now, I can just be honest and tell them “no”. Your friends should understand and support you. My good friends can tell when I am at my breaking point. I know in the beginning, I would fear hurting someone’s feelings by saying “no” or declining an event or invitation, but eventually I just had to stick with it for me.
We all have those certain friends that try and drag you to everything, but I have learned to just say “no” to them also. If I am having to talk myself into something by telling myself that it”s going to be fun or its only 2 hours of my life, then I know I should say “no” in the first place.
I had to learn what was really important to me. If I only had a certain amount of free time in the week, what was the most important? I knew that I could not do it all nor did I want to, so I had to start realizing what I truly enjoyed. For me, its making time to hike alone. So, the things that I truly love, I schedule and then I leave myself enough downtime. Some weeks there is more downtime than others.
For me, the downtime is just as important as all the other activities. Taking that time for yourself to unwind and relax is just as important as making it to book club. I try to save a night with nothing or a few hours at least, then when the unexpected happen in a week, I still have time to handle it without getting overly stressed and overwhelmed.
It is hard to realize that you can not keep doing it all. That sometimes you have to pick and choose what is important. It’s hard to realize that you can not say “yes” to everything… and then it’s even harder to decide what has to go.