A friend sent me a text about a week ago asking when I might be available to meet up for a quick coffee or glass of wine. It had been nearly 4 months since we had last seen each other and there was certainly much to catch up on as the new year is well underway. I responded "How about 3 Thursdays from now?" I wasn't trying to be funny, it was literally the next free evening that I had on my calendar for such a social engagement. Not surprisingly, the response came through as "THAT is the next time you are free for an hour or two?! You are over-scheduled!"
A few days later I was trying to coordinate some things for the weekend. I needed to be at a dinner around 7:15 on Friday night and the person I am currently dating had hoped to spend some time together before my 'girls dinner' -- aka No Boys Allowed. I managed to weave through traffic with about 40 minutes of 'hang time' to spare before my dinner. That was the equivalent of a half of a glass of wine. "What about tomorrow? When will I see you?" Well, I am rising early to meet a friend around 9 AM for an event that lasts until 4, so hopefully I can spend join you for dinner before heading an hour South at 9 AM tomorrow." Again, "Woman, you are over-scheduled!"
I made my way back up to West LA in time to drive this person to the airport, but I arrived with dark circles under my eyes and an energy level to be optimistically classified at a 3. It only took one last look of disappointment, masking frustration, for me to surrender and say "You're right. I am over-scheduled. While you are away, I plan to learn how to use the word NO."
For the regular readers, you may roll your eyes and think that you've heard this story before over the years of my writing. But, like many things in our lives, it is easy to have goals and ambitions but then see choices allow healthy habits to fade into unhealthy ones. Mind you, saying No to things is different than telling everyone that you are 'Too Busy'. The main difference? Establishing priorities and then making decisions to stand by them.
Last week I initiated a challenge for all of us to be proactive in choosing a more healthy lifestyle so that we might feel stronger from the inside out. I focused on healthy eating, less sugar, and increased water consumption so that we can feel good about the nutrition that we are using to feed our body and souls. This week, I have learned a hard lesson. That all of this will be nearly irrelevant if we don't maintain a healthy balance in our schedules to allow for physical and mental rest.
I have been making better nutritional choices, yet there are dark circles under my eyes and I find myself less excited about life and the relationships that I desire to pursue because too much focus is on the fact that my right eye has an occasional twitch that might give the wrong impression to the person sitting across from me.
As women, we are wired to be relational. We are also wired to be nurturing, attentive, and often selfless. At least for me, it is not a natural tendency to say 'No' for fear of disappointing someone or even simply because I want to embrace it all. But we have to slow it down.
This week's healthy habit: sleep more and prioritize. Not even Wonder Woman could be in 3 places at one time...so what on Earth makes me think that I am capable of such magic? I know this is a true challenge for so many of us, but creating boundaries is important and with that we will see healthier habits that build strength within us.