I failed at my challenge to myself and to you. Let’s just hop in the confessional here: It’s been 3 days since my last blog post. I beat myself up over it when I realized I was going to miss the first post, it hung over my head all day long, but I just couldn’t get to it. The second day, I had every intention of sitting down to write but I just didn’t know what to say at that point and I felt so bad by day three that I just couldn’t force myself to sit down and write. I felt like a failure even though I’m sure nobody actually cared. But I did.
Adam and I were out of town this past weekend for his belated birthday present and then went down to see his family and there wasn’t much time to myself outside of being in the car. I realized that this added pressure to write was taking its toll on me and that’s why I didn’t force myself to write by day three. I took to hear that, sometimes ,the best medicine is time with friends and family, which I had a lot of over the weekend.
This whole situation made me think of how many times I forced myself to do something I didn’t want to do. How many times did I put the state of my mental health at risk for forcing myself to do something I wasn’t ready, or simply couldn’t do? It’s been as great as sitting on a panel at a mental health conference, going back to school 2 months after Luke died, and sometimes as simple as leaving the house when it was the last thing I wanted to do.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine gave me advice that is so simple but so necessary: Say no.
It’s not earth shattering or mind blowing but it is something that I often forget to do. I’m a people pleaser and, though this has been a hard lesson for me to always put into action, it feels oddly satisfying to say no to a night out with your friends when you know full well the only other plans you have involve Netflix and your couch. It’s about learning your limits and knowing when you’re hitting a breaking point and saying enough is enough for now and doing something that will actually benefit yourself.
One thing Adam has implemented in our wedding planning process is asking if everything we include in our Big Day adds value. If it does we include it, if it doesn’t, we don’t include it. It’s hard to do sometimes but it works for our planning and for so many other aspects in my life.
Run through your day in your head really quick and tell me how many things actually added value to your day? If the answer is one or none, it wouldn’t hurt to reevaluate the things you’re saying yes to. Now, of course, there are things that we must say yes to even when we don’t want to – work, commitments to your children, etc. – but outside of those things, take it all into account. If you get invited to happy hour and catching up with an old friend is going to add value to your day, great, you should go! On the other hand, if you’ve had a really stressful day with work and know you’re closing in on your breaking point, know that you don’t have to go to the gym after your 10 hour work day; take a mental health night to yourself and read a book or go to bed early, the gym will be there tomorrow. I promise.
Life is all about balance, we know that, but sometimes taking a step back to evaluate your day and your decisions can help you decide just how much balance you’re actually giving yourself. If it’s not much, fix it, say no. Sometimes, it also helps to hear someone else say that it is okay to say no every now and then. Your mental health will thank you.