How many of us have a problem with this?
I know I do..or used to, rather. With this focus on destressing , this is a huge battleground for me!
I have to say that I have had a few things that have moved me to getting really good at this. First, watching so many of the people around me struggle with being overwhelmed with the things they commit to. I see them committing to things they dont want to do, dont have time for, and have a hard time fitting into their already stressful schedule. This is motivation for me.
Another thing, is having gone through the book by Henry Cloud and John Townsend titled "Boundaries" ..great book. It have me so much insight into why we say yes, and how to say no. It gave me some great pointers on how to change my thinking when it comes to placing boundaries (not walls), so that I dont see it as pushing people away, hurting others, etc. Its a great motivator as well!
Then, and finally, I found that frankly..there are alot of other things I would rather be doing besides the stuff I dont want or need to do! :)
Since beginning this destress quest I have really focused on clearing my time of the things that cause me stress.
Obviously, we cant eliminate everything we dont like (my first thing to go would be laundry), but we can get rid of the things that arent beneficial to us, our family, or our purpose.
Thinking this way has helped me so much! I have been able to say no alot more, and with a clear conscious! I dont mind telling others who offer for me to do great things, "I am not able to do that right now, but thank you so much for thinking of me!"
I have turned down fun playdates because it wasnt best for the kids. I have turned down two opportunities to serve on a regular basis with the childrens ministry at church, which would take me away from service 100% when I combine it with other responsibilities. I have declined being responsible for great programs at church, because I have other areas I am more passionate about. I chose not to participate in out-of-the-house activities more than one night a week (not counting church nights)...all because it helps me put my time to the best use toward my purpose and goals!
Sometimes, as a friend reminds me often, we must say no to good things, so that we can say yes to things that are even better.
Saying a gentle, thought out, and firm "no" allows us to balance this life better. It takes practice, but it gets easier!
One last thought to leave you with. A very helpful illustration that I brought from my Boundaries study is that when we go to the dentist we hurt from the things he does, right? But, in the end we are not injured. This, we can apply to saying no to others. While they may not like that we are saying no, or try to make us feel bad about it..in the end they are not harmed by our choices.
I pray for you this week, that you have the ability to prioritize your time, say no when its appropriate, and do it such a way that you feel DESTRESSED!