YOU ARE ENOUGH
I am a huge advocate of saying NO. In my book Dear Stress, I’m Breaking Up With You, I wrote that your no has just as much power as your yes. True story. How many of us are saying yes to things we want to say no to? And saying no to the opportunities that we want to say yes to? What does this look like for each of us? Today, I’ll give you three tips or strategies that you can utilize on a daily basis so that this muscle gets stronger every time you exercise it.
What do I mean when I say that saying no is a healthy practice? Does this mean that I am going to be grumpy, upset, mope around all day, and of course shoot down every opportunity I am presented with in life? Of course not. It just means that I say no to the things that do not fulfill me. I say no to interactions that drain me. I say no to what no longer brings me happiness and does not enrich my life holistically. Saying no is a healthy habit that can be developed one step at a time. It is a muscle that needs to be exercised on a daily basis. It helps you let go of unhealthy patterns, habits, behaviors, relationships, and pretty much anything that does not contribute to your life in a positive manner. Saying no is pretty much a crash course in self-care 101. This will look and feel different for each of us. For some, it might mean slowing down completely and just taking a step back to reset and examine their life so they can bounce back without feeling overwhelmed. For others, it might mean still being in “hustle mode,” but actually hustling for ventures that fulfill them. And yet, for others, it can look like ensuring they don’t fill up their plate to the brim, not just during weekdays, but also on weekends.
What does saying “No” look like for me?
As a woman of many hats personally and professionally, saying no opens me up to living a life of choice; a life by design, limitless possibilities, and potential. Making self-care a priority is crucial so that I can be and deliver my best self to my loved ones, my businesses, my clients, and most of all, to myself. However, this habit didn’t come easily, it took me quite a few years to develop this. And to be honest, there are still some days where I completely overbook, over-plan, over-schedule myself, only to find myself running the hamster wheel…again! As women, I feel that we give so much of ourselves, we are always creating and birthing projects, businesses, ventures, and relationships (our family, clients, friends). We take care of our tribe. But what about doing this for ourselves as well? What happens when we realize we have assigned our own self-care to the back seat? To me, this is when I put my three step reset plan into action, and it helps me put the “self” back into self-care.
- Stop. Breathe. Reflect. Unplug. Life is always going to throw curveballs your way, but what matters is how you handle them and how you respond to them. As I type this blog post, I think back to my day today – I have finally managed to calm down a cranky eleven-month-old baby who has been crying all morning, clinging to me like his life depends on it. My hair and my home are both a mess today. I have boatloads of manuscript editing to complete and I need to make time to work on my wellness coaching business. I have yet to run home and business errands, and somewhere in there, dinner needs to be made, dishes need to be done, my child needs my care and attention, my spouse and I are looking forward to connecting with each other after a hectic week, and I still need to pack for an out of town wedding this upcoming weekend. Oh, and did I forget to mention that somewhere in there, I need to eat, sleep, and tend to myself? Pretty much everything around me, including myself needs to be tended to. So you see, I feel like I am practically “on” all the time. I’m sure quite a few of you can perhaps relate to this. Looking back, I could have gotten even more upset, or grumpy, or just been angry all day, but instead, I know that I am feeling this way because I am tired, and I haven’t taken some time to just relax, and breathe a bit. This awareness would not have taken place if I did not take a few moments every hour or so, and remind myself to stop, breathe, reflect. This can mean repeating a mantra, or simply an appreciation statement such as I am enough, or, I am doing the best that I can with all that I have, or you’ve got this, Mama. Other times, it just means literally taking a deep breath, and just sitting in silence for a bit – be it a few minutes, or an hour, or two. Doing so helps me realize that I choose how I view and respond to what happens around me. I, not the people or events around me, have power over my life and how it unfolds. Matter of perspective.
- Examine your plate and only eat what you absolutely need and what nourishes you. The food fanatic in me loves writing a metaphor for life using food as its subject. We take on so many ventures and interactions to the point of always being on all the time, only to feel burned out. Examine all that you have taken on in your life right now, and work your way backward. See what you truly need and let go of all the other extras. You will be a much better person doing a few things really well rather than spreading yourself really thin trying to be all things to all people, and all ventures to all clients. I’m all for pushing one’s limits, but do not overextend yourself at the cost of your own health and wellbeing. Establish boundaries – for yourself and those around you. It’ll teach you to respect and prioritize yourself more and others will follow suit. Learn to nourish yourself so that you can nourish others too. I talk more about this in my / our book, Dear Stress, I’m Breaking Up With You and On Her Plate (launching soon).
- Ask for help. Utilize your tribe. Would you believe it if I told you that the village still lives and very much exists? The only condition is that we need to stop being afraid and ask for the help that we need. I truly believe you get what you need when you need it, provided you ask for it. I would not be able to do all that I do personally and professionally, were it not for having the help and support of my spouse and both our moms. They constantly help me realize that I do not have to do everything myself and that it’s okay to sometimes just order takeout instead of cooking, forgoing the cleaning and tidying up just so I can have some time to nap with my son and get some rest. And sometimes, we all totally Netflix, put on a face mask, and chill! Other times, this involves hangouts with my girlfriends (even if it literally is once in a few months) or we resort to Facetime or Skype or planning entire self-care days just to myself so that I can come back refreshed and rejuvenated.
I am grateful to have the flexibility I have, to do what I love doing, to be who I really am, and pursue my dreams of working from home while being able to be there for my family. Have I mastered the art of welding these two areas in successfully? No, not yet, but I am learning to do so, and will get there soon enough. To me, life is always a series of tweaks, trials, errors, and a call for help during the times you feel stuck or overwhelmed. If there is one thing I want you to take away, it is this – Choose self-love. Reflect and breathe throughout your day. Unplug for a while. Ask for help – it’s always there, all you have to do is ask. And most of all, be kind to yourself. You are enough. You’ve got this, Mama!
Tania Jane Moraes-Vaz
Tania is a woman of multiple hats, but “mom” is her favorite hat to wear. She is an entrepreneur, editor, coach, 2x best-selling author. Her journey into motherhood acted as a catalyst for her to truly live the life she has dreamed of. Armed with her mantra that passion propels change and kindness heals everything, Tania is on a journey to inspire and empower women with PCOS to know that they too can thrive and live a limitless, happy, and holistic life by design. She lives in Mississauga, Ontario with her husband, Alan, and their son, Arnold.