Self-care is the Key to Caring for Others

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“Saying yes to any opportunity by definition requires saying no to several others.” — Essentialism by Greg McKeown


How simple and profound, right? I’ve recently read the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown, as a starting journey to minimalistic lifestyle. I am tired of things that are not that important to me always taking away from those things that matter most in my life like my husband, my family and myself (always last).

One day a colleague introduced me to someone as “the person that never says no.” Now I know she meant this as a compliment, but it really got me thinking about the impact my “Yesses” have on my family. With five children and a full-time job outside of the home, I don’t have free time.  I am trying to minimize the number of things I agree to do in order to maximize the time with the things that matter.

If it’s not a HELL YEAH in your life…then it’s a NO!


How do we change the pattern of pleasing everyone at our own demise? How do we give ourselves a moment to decide if what is being asked of us is worth our precious time and energy? Here is a simple 4-STEP process to think about what’s a HELL YES for you before you respond.


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Step 1: Buying Time to Think

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself not the life others expected of me.” 

When you are asked to do something, don’t feel compelled to respond right away. Take time to really consider if it’s something you want to do. Say something like: “Let me get back to you on that” or “Let me check my calendar first” or “Let me check with my partner/spouse/family’s schedule first.” This gives you a moment to ponder the decision without regretting your immediate response later.


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Step 2: Pros & Cons

“By investing in fewer things we have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most.” 

Actually, write a list of pros and cons. What are the benefits of taking this new project on? Does it give you a chance to learn a new skill, give your business more exposure, are you helping others or giving back in some way, or would you have the opportunity for networking? What are the drawbacks in taking this new project on?  Does it take you away from family and friends, is the learning curve too great/steep, does it feel more like a chore than a joy, or are you saying yes for all the wrong reasons?

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Step 3: Seek Advice

“Live by design not by default.”

Talk it over with someone you trust and who honors your time and busy schedule. Share your list with them. It’s always great to have an objective ear when making decisions. I talk to my husband, who knows the struggles of balancing for our family and I talk to my group of girlfriends at work. We have made a pact to help each other say no to those things that steal our joy. It’s great to have someone constantly reminding you to think before volunteering.

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Step 4: And the Decision is…


“If you don’t prioritize your life…someone else will.” 

Is it a “Hell yeah?” or “No thanks?” Once you have made your decision, Embrace It!  Stay Positive! Live in the Moment! Try to think about what you learned and how it will help you when you are faced with making the decision to saying YES or NO in the future.

Final thought, be the protector of your time whenever possible. Don’t fill every moment with busy time. The journey to a life that you treasure requires you to keep open blocks of time for “Me time” & “Being present time”. I would love to hear how you decide what is a “Hell Yeah” for you. Leave your comments.


2 thoughts on “Self-care is the Key to Caring for Others”

  1. I’m glad to see you posting again. Right now, I’m trying to decide whether to become a board member of our Friends of the Library. It’s not so much a matter of if but when. Is it possible to have the reaction, I think it’s a hell yeah. It’s one of the three jobs I’ve assigned to myself. It’s just a matter of stress load and how much it will interfere with my primary job of being caregiver and educator to my daughter.

    1. The balance is always difficult. I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as balance. The key is to create some sense of harmony with aspects of your life. Maybe set a number of hours that you are willing to give to this new role. Anything over that number is a dealbreaker. It is so important to protect your time for your daughter. I am not always successful with “harmonizing” my life, but that’s the goal every day. Good luck and let me know how it works out.

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