Say “No” for Your Health

Making Intentional Choices with Your Time, Attention, and Energy

Like most people, you probably wear a lot of hats in your life. Parent, spouse, sibling, colleague, friend, neighbor…the list of commitments each of us holds is often a long one. And juggling the needs of all these roles can be challenging.

For many, trying to do too much can lead to overwhelm in both mind and body. And when we feel maxed out by the commitments we’re trying to uphold, our own health is often the first thing that we neglect. This is when poor food choices, little exercise, and lack of sleep become the norm and health concerns may begin to appear. Aches and pains, elevated blood pressure, digestive issues, headaches, anxiety, depression, and more can be the result of saying “yes” more often than is good for us.

That’s why it’s important to take stock of your commitments on a regular basis, decide what’s important to you in the moment, and make some intentional choices about how you want to spend your precious personal resources of time, attention, and energy.

Make Intentional Choices

Remember, though we often treat them as if they are unlimited, our personal resources of time, attention, and energy are finite. That’s why you need to get really clear with yourself—and everyone around you—about how you intend to use them at different times in your life.

Start by deciding what’s important to you right now. Do you want to take better care of your health? Would you like to spend more time with family and friends? Do you need time to rest and recharge? Is your spiritual life in need of some attention? This self-audit will help you determine where to focus your personal resources.

This process should be regularly reevaluated. Once you’ve given your time, attention, and energy to one commitment and it’s in a more stable position, it may be time to switch focus. The most important thing is that you make intentional choices about how to use your personal resources on the commitments that mean the most to you in the present moment.

Set Boundaries That Reflect Your Choices 

Once you’ve decided what you want to focus on, establish boundaries around your choices that will help you maintain your focus. So many of us find it hard to say “no,” either out of necessity because we have a lot going on or because we’re worried about disappointing other people. Whether you find it hard to say “no” or not, everyone needs to establish boundaries to help them stick to their commitments.

When you’re deciding on how to respond to a request, ask yourself, “Will saying ‘yes’ help me with my choices or draw me away from the focus I want to have right now?” For example, if taking better care of your health is one of your current priorities, it may be necessary to step back from one or two social commitments or limit new projects at work when possible.

Let the people around you know about your choices, so that they can support you in maintaining your boundaries. For example, if you’re trying to eat better, tell your co-workers that sweet treats at work, though appreciated, are off limits for you at this time. This way, there won’t be any hurt feelings when you don’t take a piece of someone’s birthday cake.

Be Flexible and Kind to Yourself

There will always be times when you must turn your time, attention, and energy to something unplanned. Life is full of unforeseen circumstances. But being able to quickly refocus your personal resources back to your commitments will help you remain on track and protect your health at the same time.

Remember also to be kind and gentle with yourself. Treat yourself the way you would a dear friend. When life or circumstances cause you to stray away from your commitments or your boundaries become blurred, don’t beat yourself up. Simply remind yourself to refocus. Every day is a new opportunity to try again.

Finally, ask for assistance when you need it. Friends, family, mentors, or colleagues can provide help, guidance, or a shoulder to cry on when you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you’re constantly feeling this way, it may be a good idea to speak to a health professional who can help you reassess your choices and create appropriate boundaries.

Choose Mind/Body Mentoring

Dr. Devillier is a mind/body mentor, board-certified naturopath, and master herbalist with more than 20 years’ experience helping clients protect and nurture their most precious resource—health. She can help you assess your current commitments and tailor your boundaries for success. To set up your first mind/body mentoring session, call Nature’s Link on 337-332-2705 or reach us online. Nature’s Link Wellness Center is a top choice for mind/body mentoring in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette, or Acadiana, Louisiana.