I’ve been struggling a lot lately with stretching myself too thin. I have been saying yes to everything from happy hours to weekend trips to Instagram campaigns to bigger blogging projects. My problem is that I want to do it all. I want to make plans with friends. I want to grow my blog by taking on big campaigns. I want to travel and have new experiences on the weekends. And I want to do all of this with working a very full time job where I spend 40 hours each week. Why is this a problem? Because there’s no time for me. No time to relax. No down time. I’m learning that while it might seem exciting in the moment, doing everything makes me feel worse in the long run. It really hit me 2 weeks ago when I was so worn down that I got bronchitis. In the summer!
As someone who is prone to anxiety, down time is very important to me. Yet it always seems to come last in my list of priorities. On our flight home from LA last week, my husband and I had a long talk about this and decided to make some changes so that I can fully enjoy the month of August. Turns out, the term “Just say no” from middle school anti-drug lessons can apply to everyday adult life as well!
Here is what I’m doing to take it all down a notch:
Step 1: We cancelled our trip next weekend. We were supposed to visit my family in Martha’s Vineyard which is always one of my favorite vacations of the summer. I also happen to have a lot of guilt around not spending time with my family so this “no” was not an easy one for me. Although letting them down and changing our plans wasn’t something that I wanted to do, I now feel a wave of relief that we won’t have to spend hours traveling each way and then scrambling to get everything done on Sunday night like I’ve been doing most weekends lately.
Step 2: My husband also convinced me to commit to at least one day of relaxation every weekend. I’m not great at relaxation so by that I mean I won’t work for one full day. Not working seems like a pretty normal thing to do on weekends but that’s not really in my DNA. Even when we’re on vacation, I spend a chunk of each day on my lap top.
Step 3: For one night each week, no computers allowed. That means no blogging, no lingering Nourish Snacks projects, and no planning for upcoming travel. This step is extra hard for me because with a full time job and blog, nights are my favorite time to get things done, uninterrupted.
Step 4: Its ok to say no! We’re saving to buy a house so I want to say yes to every project that comes my way but I need to remember that waiting a few more months to buy a house is not nearly as bad as feeling overworked and underslept!
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I hear ya! I’m often guilty of trying to cram too much into too small of a time frame. I worry that I’m not “living everyday to the fullest” if its not jam packed but truthfully, sometimes doing less/having downtime is living!
Oy, do I feel you. We instituted ‘no plans weekends’ and Sri and I will make sure we both get a couple of hours on our own to relax in our own ways (video games for him, reading for me) while the other watches the kid. It’s amazing how such a small change can make a huge difference!
Obviously, we’d make an exception to this rule to hang with our favorite CT couple 🙂
Oooh I hear you! This is a hard one, but so so necessary! I have a 2 weeknight maximum rule with myself when it comes to blogging/social engagements. I need my sleep and my time to get things done at home… otherwise, I’m a mess.
This is exactly what I needed to hear. After moving back I’ve jumped in and some of it has been wonderful but some of it has made me realize I need to SAY NO. Great job!
This is always a hard one. Saying “no” feels like I am somehow shortchanging my success, but the reality is that it will just take a little longer. Setting aside a little personal time is such a powerful thing, but the one that falls most by the wayside when we get busy. Thanks for reminding me to always keep a little time carved out for R & R
I think this small step will really impact your mental health over the course of time. I find it’s hard to say no to family who constantly wants us to spend our weekends at their home because they want to see my daughter. Which is such a blessing, but really wares us as parents out. Thanks for this inspiration. (:
So glad I read this! We’re saving for a house as well and EVERY blogging, business, heck even babysitting job sounds like it’ll get us one step closer but in reality I’ll just be exhausted and burnt out. Also – that staying off the computer one night a week rule is GENIUS. Thanks for sharing! xoxo
Great advice! I have been struggling with saying no with work. Everyone always come to me with projects and I keep saying yes to please others. When in the end, it’s just stressing me out and keeping me at the office later
I have been in love with your blog for a very long time and wanted to let you know that you inspire me so much. I also live in Connecticut and you inspired my twin sister and I to make a blog of our own. It would mean the world to us if you checked it our. xoxo, Peri
Saying no is something that I think a lot of women have trouble with, myself included. I love that you and your husband decided on a no computer rule one day a week. I hope everything works out!
Dear Julia, saying no it’s very important, you made the right choice
Love this post, Julia!
I agree with all the tips. Its hard to say no sometimes, especially on the weekends, but rest is needed because no one likes to be tired from Monday on. Thankfully some nights I am so tired from my FT job that I have no energy to sit behind a laptop, so one night with no computers allowed is ALWAYS a good idea.
I was thinking a lot about dealing with being overscheduled and always busy this week too and just finished a blog about it. I love your action plan! Thanks for the inspiration to take control and say no sometimes!
Julia I totally agree. I’m saying no to more press invites these days and yes to more friends and personal life fun. Hard to strike that balance I can totally relate. Thanks for sharing great post as always!!!!