The temptation of saying yes, when we should be saying no is, unfortunately, a very common practice these days. In general, we live in a highly overstimulated, over-scheduled society and culture where how much you involve your children in determines how good of a mom you are. How many committees, clubs, and charities you are involved with determines your worth or relevance as a woman. This is simply not true and contributing to horrible anxiety and depression, overeating, undereating—just overall a poor quality of life.

It’s no wonder that a few doctors, namely, Dr. Oz calls out anxiety as the plague of the 21st century. I’m not surprised…our kids get home from school, and we have to hop right in the car to shuffle them here, there, and everywhere. Barely eating, certainly nothing healthy, because we are eating on the run. By the time we get home from being a taxi driver, we are exhausted; the kids have to do their homework even though they are tired, and we’ve still not had any family time to connect with those we love. It’s no wonder that our kids and most of the millennials don’t know how to unplug and connect with the “real world”. Our children learn much of our habits, not our lectures.

Time for ourselves has also become a forgotten practice. We don’t get the opportunity to explore new interests or get lost in a book because we are too tired both physically and mentally. Day after day and week after week we live like this, reaping very little reward. It all goes back to the original point of “saying no” to those extra things that make our plates too full. Time with your family and yourself is non-negotiable. It is in those times that we have the opportunity to fill our buckets and the buckets of others. If we are honest, we would admit that we are not our best selves, if we don’t take a daily time out. It is imperative to do that because you will teach the younger generation, under you, more of the art of “stillness” and less of the act of “martyrdom”.

It’s definitely a balancing act, but will be well worth it if we learn to manage our schedules better. Our homes and lives will be more peaceful. It’s ok to be bored sometimes. It’s ok to not have anything to do. Not being busy doesn’t mean you are unproductive, it just means your mind is resting so you can give birth to your next creative idea.

We are human beings, not human doings. I’m not speaking of anything other than what I’ve lived. I’ve had to let some things go and tell some people no, whether they liked it or not. That created space for the things that made me happy. More than anything it gave me focus and clarity of purpose. All of us have passions and dreams that we may or may not be living. Some of us may be fortunate enough to work in an area of our passion, but even in that, especially if you work from home or for yourself, you have to have definitive hours of on the clock and off the clock. We have to give ourselves that space to joyfully explore, grow, and learn. We need the opportunity to learn our loved ones and love-on our loved ones. I now live a more intentional life. Learn to just be and “say no.”

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