By Jennifer Plotnek
This may sound simple and easy to do, but for most people, it is exactly the opposite. How many times have you said “yes” to something that you didn’t want to do, and then ended up disregarding your own needs?
A helpful way to learn to say “no” is to buy yourself time. Instead of immediately responding to a request, try using this phrase: “Let me get back to you once I check my calendar.” It is a lot easier to say “no” when you are not put on the spot and have time to process a request. Additionally, it is helpful to remind yourself that you deserve to take care of your own needs prior to helping others.
2. Eliminate the never ending to-do list
How often do you find yourself making a laundry list of the things you want to achieve in a day, knowing that it is unlikely that you will achieve it all? Not only does your to-do list set you up for failure, but it often leads to your own personal needs being bumped down to the bottom of the list. A helpful way to make sure that you are making time for yourself is to schedule in your own needs on your calendar.
For example, schedule time into your calendar for exercise, even if it means going for a walk rather than getting in a more formal workout. Set up calendar reminders to take time out of your day for snacks and “stress” breaks, where you get up and move around for 10 minutes. Carving out time for yourself is essential to achieving a healthy work/life balance and optimizing your ability to prioritize your health and wellness.
3. Know when to “shut down”
Summer is typically a popular time to take vacations. If you don’t learn to shut down and separate work and your own personal time, you will never get the proper relaxation and recharge that your mind and body needs. The same can be said for shutting down work in the evening hours. If you work late in front of a computer, it can impact your ability to fall asleep, which subsequently can impact how efficiently your body runs. Use your vacation and time off from work to focus on YOU.
4. Spend at least 5-10 minutes a day practicing mindfulness
Being mindful can mean a lot of different things for different people. For some, that means practicing yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. For others, this might mean listening to relaxing music or journal writing. Mindfulness is any activity or practice that helps you focus on the present.
5. Stay away from “should” statements
If you start a sentence, with “I should,” you are automatically burdening and punishing yourself before you give yourself the opportunity to take action.
All of these tips sound simple, but putting them into practice can be challenging! In order to have long-term weight management success, it is essential that you find daily ways that you can prioritize yourself! You don’t know how effective these tips can be until you try to put them into practice.
Jennifer Plotnek is Retrofit Lead Behavior Coach and a lifelong athlete who has spent the last 15 years helping other people minimize the impact of their life stressors through exercise, nutrition and self-care. She has a degree in Sociology from the University of Colorado and a Master’s Degree from the Smith College School for Social Work. Jennifer has worked in hospitals, schools, mental health clinics and private practice. She co-owns a health club in DC and always strives to set a good example for her three daughters.