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 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 this summer?
Perhaps you’re overextended and craving unscheduled time to do nothing? Or, are you being called to learn a new skill? 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 navigating a lot of chaos and uncertainty. But, that doesn’t mean our self-care has to get shelved. Pause for a moment and think about how you want to experience summer 2023.
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 magical time with purpose and vision.
One of the most popular tools from my 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 chapter on Managing Your Energy. 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.
When we say “no” to the “shoulds” and those things that are non-essential –we 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.
- The “My Family is the Reason” No: “Thanks so much for the invite, but that’s the day of my nephew’s birthday party.
- The “I Know Someone Else” No: “I just don’t have time right now. May I 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 your summer months and consider a new work, family or volunteer project or commitment, before you commit, check-in and ask, “What is my heart’s greatest desire this summer?” Taped to my laptop is my favorite quote from German poet Goethe: “Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
WANT SUPPORT FOR FINDING BALANCE? HERE ARE FOUR OPPORTUNITIES:
- Sat., June 17th ~ Permission Granted: The Art of Extreme Self-Care. Come refill your well and learn the art/science of self-care. On the summer solstice. In Brevard, NC (45 min. from Asheville). Register by May 26th; pre-registration required. Learn more/register.
- September 15-17th ~ Sing, Dance, Pray: Romancing the Beloved at the Retreat Center at Lake Logan (45 min. from Asheville, NC airport). Located on sacred land in the oldest mountain range in the world. Limited to 25 women. Registration closes on June 30th; already half full! Learn more/register.
- Wild Souls Nature Adventures (based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western NC): authentic movement classes, community song circles, full moon hikes, meditation workshops, women’s circles & more. New offerings listed each week; have me design a custom experience for your team/friends. Join us Sunday, June 4th for Wild Souls Authentic Movement near Asheville, NC. Learn more.
- Download your self-guided retreat today ~ Ready to prioritize your self-care, relax your body and enjoy empowering mentoring from Renee 24/7 from the comfort of your home, car or office? Our highly popular self-paced online retreats are only $59. Download & enjoy today. Learn more.
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 high-impact, interactive workshops for Fortune 500 companies, national nonprofits/conferences and organizations/teams 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 450 facilitators in 10 countries around the globe to lead self-renewal groups/retreats 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; her latest venture is Wild Souls Nature Adventures. More on Renee here.