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Just Say No

saying-no-585Normally, I’m someone who is down for new experiences, meeting new people and doing new things. Heck, that was part of the reason that this site was started in the first place—to have a reason to try wacky things. But, as the stresses of working a full-time job, growing FBG, and spending time with my friends, family and pup have grown, I’ve had to re-evaluate how I spend my time in order to stay sane. I love my life, but there’s little time for reflection, quiet and solitude unless I’m running and then my mind flashes between telling myself that “I can do it” and singing aloud to whatever Britney Spears song that’s on my Shuffle. That’s why one very simple and to-the-point word has become my favorite go-to response: NO. It works in a variety of situations:

Would you like to take on [insert new project at work]? No.

Want to go to [insert local bar] for one happy hour drink (which always turns into more drinks plus appetizers)? N-O.

How about buying a candy bar for [insert kid’s school]? NO.

At first, I felt a little selfish for saying no because, I’ll admit, I’ve always been a bit of a people pleaser. I was a straight-A student growing up, so I’m programmed to meet and exceed expectations. After years in the real world though, I’ve realized that being perfect is not only impossible, it’s exhausting. By saying no, I’ve taken life from what I “have to do” to “what I want to do.” Sure, I still have to go to work and pay the bills, but I don’t have to clean my bathroom every week, and if I miss a workout at the gym because I’d rather watch American Idol, that’s okay. Life is too short to cry over missed workouts.

By saying no, I’ve regained some of that quiet time for myself. Last week, I left work early to attend an hour-long meditation class, and I passed on a routine social event to put my PJs on early and read in bed. And you know what? No one made me feel bad or had a problem with it. I didn’t make an excuse, I didn’t apologize, and I didn’t lie. I just said “no.”

Now, does this mean I’m now a hermit, who only spends time alone and routinely skips workouts? HECK NO. When I want to go out, I go out. When I want to have people over, I do. And nine times out of ten, I’m going to go to the gym or pop in a workout DVD because I know it’s good for me. It’s all about choice. And knowing that I’ve got the power.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, overworked and stressed, take a look around you at what you’re doing but don’t have to be doing. Then, take a deep breath and say “no” to it. Isn’t it amazing what those two little letters can do? —Jenn 

Photo grabbed from net_efekt on Flickr.

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