The Quest for Balance
All quests must begin somewhere and the quest to find balance in your life is no exception. I wanted to jump in to each of the areas but then, I realized, I needed to begin at the beginning.
Where to Start
We all know this story: you work all day, rush home, decide what’s for dinner, laundry, dishes, homework, family time, etc. Weekends come and we want to catch up but then there is practice, chores around the house, family obligations, invites to celebrations, attempting to sleep (who gets the recommended amount of sleep anyway?) before getting up and doing it all over again.
Whew, I’m exhausted just thinking about doing all of that.
“But,” you ask, “all of these things need to be attended to? How do I find balance in all of the chaos?”
Good question (there are no stupid questions here)!
The Answer to the Good Question
The answer is to say no.
Seriously, just say no.
I know, I know. So much of the things on our to do list are urgent.
Or so we think.
Saying “NO” is one of the most powerful and radical ways to bring balance back into your life.
“But, how do I say no?”
How Do I Do It?
It’s easy (or not) to say no. Here lets practice: “No.”
See, that wasn’t so hard.
Oh, right. It’s hard to say no to your boss asking you to take on one more project. And, your mom needs you to help her with some medical stuff. Well, you can’t say no to that. Oh and the kids need a special lunch for the field trip tomorrow. How can you say no to all of that?
Saying no is incredibly difficult especially when you are used to saying yes. However, speaking from personal experience it can be one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself.
Here are five things you can do to help as you learn to say no:
1. Breathe – when someone asks you to do one more thing, just breathe. Nothing is so urgent that you can’t take a moment to think (blood and broken bones are the exception). Practice the pause before deciding.
2. Prioritize – balance is about taking care of you and that should take priority (again blood and broken bones, not to mention empty tummies are the exception) over most things. There’s a saying that you can’t fill a cup with an empty pitcher. Decide for yourself which things are the most important and then say no to the rest.
3. Get help – no one can do it all and something always slips through the cracks. Hire a housekeeper or a babysitter for a few hours of free time. Ask your partner to take over a task. Exchange services with someone. Enlist your siblings to help with parents. None of us is an island and we all need each other.
4. Realize the power of no – saying no is empowering. Just try it. Besides if you say no to things that don’t fit into your life, imagine what you could say yes to. That is the power of no. When you are constantly saying yes to everyone and everything, there is no room for you.
5. Boundaries – boundaries deserve their own post but I will say this: setting boundaries is one of the best gifts you can give yourself. Decide where your line is and then fight like hell to keep it. It’s worth it.
I hope you practice saying no in your life. It also may help to start with the small stuff. Please leave a comment on how that worked for your this week.
Until next time,
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