Today the temperature in Austin, TX will reach 99 degrees–ready or not, summer is on her way! As I continue to attempt to digest all the changes, uncertainty and constantly shifting reality we now live in, one of the practices I return to is attuning to nature’s cycles. For me, summer has always been a magical time of creativity, rest and renewal.
What’s your intention for this summer?
Perhaps you’re overwhelmed and need expanses of unscheduled time to do nothing? Are you being called to learn a new skill or explore a career change? Do you desire to explore new ways of being and start living more in the present? Or if you’re exhausted, you may need to pull out your calendar and block out periods for deep relaxation in nature? Yes, we’re living in a time of the unknown, but that doesn’t mean our self-care has to get shelved. Pause and think about how you want to experience summer 2020.
If you’ve ever had the experience of waking up on Labor Day and realizing your summer was not quite what you had envisioned, you know how key it is to enter this season with purpose and intention.
One of the most popular tools from my first life balance book, The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life, is the “Nine Ways to Say No” list from Chapter Four on Managing Your Energy, Setting Priorities and Saying No. We have a finite amount of energy. And our energy–our life force–is PRECIOUS! In addition to often over-committing, most of us waste a lot of energy through endless hours on screens or engaging in activities that don’t really feed us.
One highly effective way to harness your attention and energy, so you can focus on what really matters, is to say “no” to the “shoulds” and those things that are non-essential -–so you can say “yes” to what matters most. Learning to say “no” is like weight lifting—the more you practice saying it, the stronger you become. Here’s some helpful language from our global Personal Renewal Groups to support you in mastering this essential self-care skill:
Nine Creative Ways to Say No
1. Just No: “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” (Say it, then shut up.)
2. The Gracious No: “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
3. The “I’m Sorry” No: “I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now.”
4. The “It’s Someone Else’s Decision” No: “I promised my coach (therapist, etc.) I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now. I’m working on creating more work/life balance.”
5. The “My Family is the Reason” No: “Thanks so much for the invite, but that’s the day of my son’s soccer game, and I never miss those.” (Consider hiring a coach to help you get clarity here.)
6. The “I Know Someone Else” No: “I just don’t have time right now. Let me recommend someone who may be able to help you.”
7. The “I’m Already Booked” No: “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day.”
8. The “Setting Boundaries” No: “Let me tell you what I can do …” Then limit the commitment to what will be comfortable for you.
9. The “Not No, But Not Yes” No: “Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you.”
As you look at the next 90 days and consider a new work, family or volunteer project or commitment, remember that while important, it will take away time and valuable energy from your heart’s greatest desire. Pause, reflect on how you want to experience this summer and remember, “Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least,” (thank you Goethe). I encourage you to find some quiet time this week to reflect on what you need during these slower months. Perhaps even scheduling a personal planning retreat? I’d love to hear your summer intention, share it in the comments section below!
SEEKING SUPPORT FOR YOURSELF OR YOUR TEAM? HERE ARE TWO OPPORTUNITIES:
- Consider hiring me to create a workshop to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, energized and focused.My primary work is speaking to professionals worldwide on how to find balance through practicing the art/science of self-care. Whether it’s an in-person workshop, keynote or via a Zoom session, I’d love to support your team now or in the future. Learn more here.
- Could you use a day-away focused on extreme self-care? Me, too! I’m exploring options for intimate, one-day retreats in beautiful natural settings (social distancing). Have a home or venue to offer in TX or interested in getting a pre-invite? Email info at reneetrudeau dot com with the subject: “YES! Summer self-renewal retreats!” to be added to our inner circle list. Learn more about all retreats.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. She and her team have certified more than 400 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups and women’s retreats based on her work. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 18-year-old son. More on Renee here.