Saturday, October 1, 2011

How to Start Saying 'No'

The first day of October, I adore October!

Unfortunately the month of September was a lot of 'Yes's, which meant I'm now overwhelmed and exhausted, fighting off a cold for the past two weeks. (Rachel wrote a timely post on this too!)

How did I get here?

A quick review of what I've committed to this fall-

  • For work I'm running my first program for early childhood educators in French. There are sessions every other thursday evening and extremely intensive work during the week. I'm quite excited about this program (Hanen LLLI in French for you SLPeeps out there!) but am nervous at the same time.
  • I've also signed up for a free advanced language course offered by Universit√© Sainte-Anne for medical health professionals. A pilot program, it involves four online evening sessions and weekly hours of homework. 
  • My friend Jen and I are teaching the local SLP student master's program two classes on childhood dysphagia (swallowing disorders) in November. This requires reading, at least two planning and organizing sessions and quite a bit of practicing. Outside of work.
  • I'm most likely going to travel to at least one other site in the province this fall for an outreach.
  • I said I would meet with a local SLP student to help her come up with a plan to fundraise for her school. 
  • Coffee and Yoga is coming up (although Yoga in the Park is basically done, so that's one less thing).

Combine this official stuff with my regular evening activities, like yoga, writing in this blog, and traveling to family for thanksgiving (October 10th in Canada), working from 8am-5pm and you've got an exhausted yogini.

Each of these things individually, I'm quite excited about and happy to do. At the same time, I realized yesterday that I was stretching myself too thin. Andrew and I weren't spending any quality time together anymore, all my spare time was spent trying to practice yoga, write in this blog and meet up with friends.

I need to take a step back, re-evaluate and decide how I'm going to manage these next few months.

1. Having typed out my commitments for this month I can see that some are non-negotiable. Work things will have to stay, and the level of involvement will be intense. There are some things, though, that are negotiable with regards to how much I commit or what my reaction will be.

2. For those things that I can control, I should dial it down a notch. The SLP student meeting? I have to be firm when it comes to how much I will help (i.e. beyond meeting with her- not much).

3. Although outside of work activities are important, my relationship with Andrew and our marriage takes priority. This means keeping my cell phone off for certain evenings and not committing to things on the evenings I have free. It's hard to do, since I love our friends, but Andrew and I need more than one quiet evening a week. It's how our relationship works.

4. I need to accept that practicing yoga every day, or more than 3 times a week will actually make things worse. Yoga is not an acceptable priority over my relationship time with my husband. This hasn't  really been an issue, but I just thought I'd put it out there. I won't let myself get caught up in the 'I practice yoga every day how much do YOU practice?' trap.

5. New requests or commitments are a firm NO (at least for Autumn).

How do you manage over-extending your time and Self?

Blessings and Happy October!

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. I sometimes think this time of year is all work work work - it's that whole "start of the year" thing. I always found the September to Xmas stretch at college and uni a really hard grind. There's a lack of daylight too that doesn't help.

    Deep breaths, don't worry, we're in this together. See you at Yule!!! :D

  2. I totally hear you! I have been learning to say no and it is a hard thing to do since I want to do it all! This is why my blog has gone down to the bottom of my priority list, at least until I finish my thesis. Also, social activities are a minimum these days to maximize quality time with Diego and get 'er done!

    This means the four of us will meet on the other side of Autumn with lots to catch up on and a great appreciation for patience and friendships that last without expectations! :)

  3. oh my goodness, this is just what I needed to read! I am in the same boat and feeling a tad overwhelmed. thank you for a great post!

  4. Girl, look at you! You are taking off! Yay! But I know what you mean about needing to prioritize and say no. So important, especially at this time of year! Let the holiday season begin! LOL. Thanksgiving, Halloween (or in the other order south of your border!), Yule, New Year's....whew!

    My new job is exhausting me, but I'm enjoying it. Going to take some business courses at night, as well. Gonna be a lot.

    Anyway, you're awesome! So excited about your professional development!

  5. This couldn't be more timely. With the new "part-time" job, last week I worked over 60 hours--which is totally against my personal value system. I'm teaching two evenings a week, covering extra shifts in the center until I get us effectively staffed, and the new term always requires more prep and email time than later on. I'm skimping on meals times, but keeping up with at the minimum 6 hours of sleep. Hub just started school too which means longer days for him, but I figure after week 3 of this term, we'll be in a routine, my work schedule should reduce and regulate--so I'm just focusing on getting there AND to Christmas ;) While still enjoying the little things along the way. Have to remain positive and realize it'll all work itself out, otherwise extra stress doesn't do anyone any I'm teaching about stress this term so why add to it?! ;) Firm work boundaries are always a good thing while still allowing for home time flexibility and spontaneity!


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