I took off the month of December because I needed it.
There was a lot going on, as is typical in during the holidays and around winter break. And I thought to myself, as I made the decision to cancel five workshops and postpone a webinar, will this hurt my business?? And I had to face the very truthful reality that the answer was maybe, maybe it would.
But I needed to do it. I was in desperate need for some self-care, some time to fuel myself up and nourish my body, mind and heart.
People might be upset with me after they had made plans and put money down to attend, learn and show up. The thing is though is that I wasn’t able to show up for them how I wanted to.
It is easy to worry so much about what others might think when we change plans, opt out of events, decline invitations of helping. Taking care of yourself is not selfish, it is the greatest gift that you can give to those around you.
Self-care is truly an act of service, because when you care for yourself you show up as your best for those who need you.
I whole heartedly believe in helping out others, to showing up for causes that are greater than you, to being available to friends and family but not at the detriment of you. Because when you show up drained and haggard and resentful you really aren't being of much service to anyone
Let’s be honest, no one really wants the you that is riding on your last thread. Your family is not loving “quality” time when you are frazzled and frayed. You helping out someone else when you have nothing left to give usually only makes them feel like a burden.
So what do you do when you are deciding what do fill your schedule up with? What invitations to decline or accept?
Here is a step-by-step process that I go through when making the decision what to take on while honoring what it is that I need.
When someone invites you to do something, asks if maybe you can help out or pitch in, take a moment to pause. You want to gift yourself a little bit of time to before committing. You can say something like “Hey thanks for thinking of me, I need to take a look at some things and I will get back to you.”
2. What is the TIME cost?
Be realistic about how much time this “thing” will take. Consider travel time, prep time, face time etc. Time is your most valuable possession, how much time will this cost you? When you get real with this it may impact your final decision or you might only commit to part of what is being asked.
3. What am I saying "NO" to?
Ask yourself "If I do say yes to this then what am I saying no to?" You may have room on your schedule but that doesn't mean you aren't saying no to other valuable opportunities. Like some down time, time for yourself, time with your family, time in the woods, meditation, political action etc. Is saying yes worth what you are giving up?
4. Assess your current week (or month)
Take a look at your week (or month). Notice how much time you have available for relaxation, for nourishment, for connection, for creativity. For the things that fuel you so you can be your best. If it doesn't seem like there is anytime for you and the things you love then understand that burn out, resentment, irritable -- you know all the awesome behaviors are very likely!
5. Ask your body what (s)he thinks
Close your eyes and ask your body what it thinks. Seriously.
Your mind will lie to you all the time “But I have to say yes, so-and-so helped me with my event.” “What will they say if I decline? They will think I am a flake.” "My boss will think I am not a hard worker" “They might not like me anymore” “They will think I am selfish” etc.
Our body doesn't lie, it doesn't know how to.
Take a few deep breaths ground into your body and and then simply ask “how do you feel about me saying yes this commitment”?
Notice what happens in the body. Does it clench up? Tighten? Feels like your stomach is going to sink? OR does it feel freeing? warm? exciting and fun? If it is the former then your body, your inner wisdom, is expressing to you that this is not something that is going to nourish you or bring you joy (at this moment in your life).
6. Make a decision and trust that it is the right one
Make a decision and let go of the outcome of what others might think about it. This can be the hard part, but please remember you can not control the reaction of others. My experience has been that by saying yes to me I am also giving others permission to say yes to themselves. Some people do get upset, and that is ok! (This is a whole other post btw). But trust that in this moment in time you are making a decision that is right for you and by listening to yourself, taking time for yourself, you will be servicing you and those around you the best you can.
We all have obligations, like work and taking care of your kiddos. But lots of times we fill all the other moments up with things that feel like obligations but don't have to. Make YOU a priority. You are worth it. And then when you do commit you show up as your best.