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Take Back Time for Yourself

it's okay to say no until you're ready to say i can't wait

Last week I shared that I’ve been really struggling with our impending move, and it felt really good to unload. Unfortunately, my body decided to completely shut down in response to the stress. I got a nasty cold/sinus thing, and it pretty much knocked me on my ass since last Thursday. I haven’t left the house other than for essential appointments, errands, and coffee runs. I felt like a zombie.

One of the lessons I’m learning is how to acknowledge when you need to take back time for yourself. I’m not even talking about self-care here, I’m talking about saying no to everything that isn’t an absolute necessity. There are many things I’d love to do consistently—the weekly mom meet-ups, organizing playdates, hosting friends for dinner, meeting up with friends socially—but consistency requires energy. I am running very low on energy currently, so for the time being I have to say no, or at least say yes in moderation and in deference to my ability to truly show up.

A couple of days ago a friend asked if I could help her out with something and tried to arrange a time for us to get together. I was on the mend already, but my heart just wasn’t in it so I said no. I really just needed one more day at home to recover and not feel obligated to be social on top of my other responsibilities. During any other phase of my life I would have said yes, but I’m finally learning that it’s okay to say no until I’m ready to say, “I can’t wait.”

I hope this resonates with you, and I want to assure you that whatever you guilt you might feel in the moment when you say no will be short-lived. Give yourself the grace to have a night in or a week in a row if you’re the on-the-go type. No one is going to die if you miss the gym or dinner and drinks after work. If you feel like there isn’t anything you can cut out, at least reduce your expectations and just give yourself time to breathe. Scrounging around in the freezer and relying on pantry staples may not be exciting, but spending less time cooking and cleaning will be worth it. In my case it all worked out, because my friend is rad and invited me and my kid to lunch tomorrow, and I finally feel like rejoining the land of the living.

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