We’ve all heard it a million times – just learn to say no, make time for yourself and put your own oxygen mask on first. I still believe in this philosophy but I also know it’s easier said than done. True confession time – I don’t always practice this mantra as much as I preach it. Sometimes I push the envelope to stay up late to finish a project or neglect to take well earned time off on the weekends because I think I need do more. In the end my health suffers because I set unrealistic expectations.
My “aha moment” came recently when I read in Oprah Magazine that burning the candle at both ends will eventually lead to chronic stress. This can cause an imbalance in your cortisol levels which will create noticeable change in your mood and energy levels. These are the fight or flight hormones that keep our bodies healthy and protect our immune system. When frayed and stressed our bodies signal us by getting sick and saying – “Hey you – slow down, I’m trying to tell you something!” When we burn through the warning signs of stress we go into full-on sick mode which takes longer to recuperate from and is a less efficient use of our time in the long run. Plus – it feels lousy.
My wish for you (and me!) is to listen more to what our bodies are trying to tell us. If you feel over worked, stressed, and burned out – you need to slow down and give your body a chance to recharge.
You must really practice saying No since in the competitive workplace showing initiative and being at-the-ready makes some feel more promotable and valued. In truth, you need to train your audiences of colleague, bosses, friends, and family about what you need to work effectively and in a healthy way. You deserve to have some time to recharge and your body needs this to thrive. Research also shows well rested people that eat well and get moderate exercise have fewer sick days at work and produce at a high level on the job. Their moods are positive and well balanced because they are not burned out so they are very promotable and well recognized in their organizations.
I am ready to take on this new challenge and encourage you to do the same. It will take some practicing but I am cheering you on. Say it with me now: “No thank you!” That wasn’t so bad – was it?