Last Thursday morning after my nature-based workout, my friend Beverly asked me to join her and her mom to pick blueberries. Thinking of the mountains of emails that awaited me and before “No, I have to get to my office,” could come out of my mouth, I paused. I’m really intent on embracing a magical, slower, more sensual summer (join me June 28th if this calls to you) and what better way to do this than to stroll through fragrant, bountiful blueberry bushes picking and snacking on one of summer’s most delicious gifts.
The answer was, “YES!” For me this choice represented the summer my soul desires! What’s your intention for summer 2022?
Perhaps you’re overextended 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 and many of us are navigating a lot of chaos–but that doesn’t mean our self-care has to get shelved. Pause and think about how you want to experience THIS summer.
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, vision 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 my chpater 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 truly 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 to support you in mastering this essential self-care skill:
Nine Creative Ways to Say No
- Just No: “Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that.” (Say it, then shut up.)
- The Gracious No: “I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed.”
- The “I’m Sorry” No: “I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now.”
- 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.”
- 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 or therapist to help you get clarity here.)
- 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.”
- The “I’m Already Booked” No: “I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day.”
- The “Setting Boundaries” No: “Let me tell you what I can do …” Then limit the commitment to what will be comfortable for you.
- 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?
Please consider joining me and like-minded women from around the globe as we collectively set intentions for summer 2022! We’ll be circling up virtually on Zoom, Tues. June 28th, 12-2 ET for Creating the Summer Your Soul Desires a virtual/live mini self-care retreat. We’ll also explore how to slow down and savor summer. Details here.
WANT TO MAKE YOUR SELF-CARE A PRIORITY? HERE ARE THREE OPPORTUNITIES!
- June 28th, 12-2pm ET: Creating the Summer Your Soul Desires: A Mini Self-Renewal Retreat (live/virtual event) ~ What’s your intention for this summer: rest & renewal, creativity, vibrant health, nature adventures or something else? When Labor Day arrives can you say you had a summer that fed you on all levels? Join me on a live, virtual mini-retreat to design the summer your heart, body and soul desire. Learn more/register here (Early bird rate of $59 through 6/17; enjoy 2 books, a self-care audio class and the option to have a summer support sister.)
- Want to empower your employees with new self-care tools? Schedule me to create a balanced living workshop or presentation to help your team, organization or employees feel less stressed and more resilient, creative and focused. For 20+ years I’ve been working with companies/organizations such as Kaiser Permanente, Ernst & Young, Women in Conservation, the Council on Family Violence, Bank of America, the Center for Women in Law, the Hewlett Foundation and more. Email workshops at reneetrudeau dot com. Learn more here.
- Oct. 14-16 ~ Awakening Your Wild Soul: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health (this one sells out FAST)! Learn more. P.S. If you live in Western NC, join me for Wild Souls Nature Adventures. Or have me design a custom Wild Souls Blue-Ridge Mountain nature-based adventure for your team or friends Read more and sign up to get notices!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by mindfulness coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women find balance through the art/science of self-care, Renee has been facilitating transformational, high-impact workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations worldwide for 25 years. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, AARP, 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 for women based on her pioneering self-care curriculum. She’s the author of two books on life balance including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life. She and her husband live in Western North Carolina and Austin, Texas and are enjoying a new empty nest. Her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.