Learning to say “NO” has been a lesson we’ve been hearing since our youth, right? But when we were younger, it was usually in reference to drugs, alcohol, sex…you know, risky behavior type of things.

So what about now? Now we’re women, full grown even! And yet, we’re still learning that lesson of saying “No” to protect ourselves.

The other day I was chatting with a friend about racing, as in marathons and such, and she said, “I’m just such a chronic YES girl, I can never just say no to anything.” And I totally understood her.

So how do we find that balance? How do we go from saying yes to ALL THE THINGS…to protecting our time (and sanity) by saying no? In her book, Present Over Perfect, Shauna Niequist says, “How we live matters, and what you choose to own will shape your life, whether you choose to admit it or not. Let’s live lightly, freely, courageously, surrounded only by what brings joy, simplicity, and beauty.”

This book is amazing, and filled with wise words of how to choose a simpler life, one where we are present for the things that matter, and letting go of the things that don’t. So before saying YES to the next thing whether it’s volunteering with PTA, or running that 5K with a friend, or having a hoard of hungry teens to your house for New Years, just pause…and make sure you’re making the choice for YOU, and not out of guilt or obligation.

Now I’m not saying that saying yes out of obligation is always a bad thing, but we can’t sacrifice our need for rest in the name of it. We can’t put our obligation to others always in front of obligation to our own selves. So before saying YES, think through these questions:

  1. What will I need to give up in order to make this happen? And is that worth it?
  2. What about saying YES to this is exciting to me? Is it internal (will bring you joy), or is it for external validation?
  3. Do I have the time? We can make time for anything that is important to us, but will you be squeezing this into your schedule, thereby running yourself ragged to make it happen, or do you actually have the time to put into this?

Prioritizing ourselves is SO hard to do sometimes, especially as women, but it is ESSENTIAL to having optimal mental and physical health. Take care of YOU, Mama, you deserve it and you need it!

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