Thursday I was stressing about whether I should go to coffee with the women’s coffee club or stay home and work on the newsletter. After all, I had lap swimming in a few hours. This is what I was thinking when I wrote about “saying no” earlier in the week. You can read that post HERE.
I decided to go to coffee after all. I needed to run some errands and the coffee shop we were meeting at was close to the Post Office, hardware and grocery stores.
I met a new person who made me laugh. She’s lived in our neighborhood for seven years, but I’ve never seen her before. She had never gone to coffee club. She didn’t know there was a book club, either.
This woman said she was going to Ireland with her running group to run trails along the coast of Ireland. I asked when.
“In two hours,” she said. “I have one hour until my Uber driver picks me up.”
I laughed out loud and said I was worried about going to coffee AND lap swimming in one day! I’m glad I didn’t wimp out. Now it’s time to squeeze in some work on the newsletter before my swim. FYI, next this new friend told me about her trip climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Would you have coffee with your neighbors before you left for a trip to Ireland? How about swimming and coffee? Why do you think some people only like to have one event scheduled per day and others can do many?
If we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and meaningful, we need to prioritize. Declining requests is crucial.
This was in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Elizabeth Bernstein.
Since we moved and things started opening up post COVID shutdowns, I find myself saying yes to everything. That’s because I lived through two years of doing nothing. As my life gets busier and busier, I long for quiet time alone to read or sit in the back yard listening to and watching the birds.
Recently, I said yes to writing the community’s newsletter. (I’m not sure that was a good idea.) I’ve said yes to book club and coffee club. I’ve said yes to neighbor’s invitations. I’ve joined the YMCA and go four times a week to swim and workout. We’ve had people over for wine and dinner. I can’t believe I’m missing the endless days of no plans. But I am.
We’re eager to get back out there. We’re also burnt out on stress and schedules that often seem like all work and no fun. We know that if we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and more meaningful we need to prioritize. Learning to decline requests will be crucial to this effort.
Think of saying no as the ultimate self-care strategy.
“If we just agree to everything mindlessly, we are not going to be able to come up with the priorities to take us where we want to go,” says Vanessa Bohns, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.
We sometimes say yes simply because we’re uncomfortable saying no. We’re social beings—we want people to like us. We feel guilty if we let others down or hurt their feelings, especially our closest family and friends. They’re the ones who often want us to say yes the most—and who may experience our “no” as a rejection of them, rather than of the request.