If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last 10 years of fighting Adultitis, it’s this: there is no silver bullet for staying de-stressed. It’s a daily battle.
Last week I was pretty stressed-out. I was overwhelmed, tired, and resentful. Ugh. Blah. Yuck.
I had said “yes” to WAY too much this summer and was left with the consequences.
All that being said, recognizing the problem is always the right first step in the process back to the Adultitis-free lifestyle we all strive for. Once I realized what the source of my stress was, I spent the end of the week pruning, evaluating, and establishing a plan to get me back on track, so that I can be better equipped to prevent this from happening in the future.
In an effort to figure out why I was feeling so irritable, I did an activity that I would highly recommend you try the next time you are feeling suffocated by your life. Pull out the trusty planner or family calendar and analyze your last four weeks. Write down a list of ALL of the things you had going on (outside of the normal day-to-day chores like grocery shopping, laundry, bills, etc.). Look closely at the list and think about what you should’ve said no to.
My list went on and on.
Yikes. There were 25 things altogether — everything from volunteer activities to collegial commitments to family gatherings. One thing was certain, the list was made up of ALL good things. I honestly didn’t know what I should have cut.
This was not going to be easy.
“The art of leadership is saying no, not saying yes. It is very easy to say yes.”
– Tony Blair
I agree with Tony. Saying yes is easy peasy lemon squeezy. We can talk until we are blue in the face about the importance of “saying no more” but at the end of the day, it’s cloudy. The individual yeses are good and yet collectively, over the course of say, a month, they can be destructive to your well-being and ultimately your household.
This art of saying no is truly the test of your life.
The test is in self-preservation and establishing personal boundaries. If you live life without protecting these boundaries, you will most likely feel helpless and out of control — not quite the Adultitis-free lifestyle we advocate.
If you do not set up personal boundaries for your household (even if that household is JUST YOU), then you will inevitably relinquish control of your life over to everyone around you — and they may not be kind.
The world can (and will) take your time, your energy, and your sanity. Well-intentioned friends, family, and collegues will unknowingly and collectively suck you dry. They really don’t mean to, but it happens all the time. And at the end of the day… it’s on YOU.
If you find yourself running on fumes, it’s on YOU.
If your planner is so full, you’re often in a “hurry up and relax” routine, it’s on YOU.
If you are resentful of the commitments you made, even though you believe they are all “good,” it’s on YOU.
Like a mama bear watching over her cubs, you need to be more protective and say no more often. You need to schedule actual time for rest and rejuvenation, and carve out a space for the members of your household to be together without obligations. You need to do what’s best for your household.
If you don’t, who will?
Yes, people may be upset if you don’t attend their “thing.” They may be unable to understand your point of view. And I’m here to reassure you that’s okay.
You need to be responsible for YOU.
If you are a stressed-out mess, you are no good to ANYONE.
Just think about how much better the world would be if everyone took care of themselves and those in their household first, before giving to everyone else. Something tells me we would all have a lot more to give.
I dare you to pass this test of your life — the test that determines if you are destined to live an Adultitis-ridden life or one free of resentment and busyness. A life in which you can feel good about the amount of commitments you have on your plate, for the good of those you love and for your own health and happiness.
It’s worth the fight.