Lots of articles out there about learning how to say no. To tell you how to say no to too many demands on your time, say no to any extra volunteer activities, say no to your kids running all over you and getting their way every time.
What would happen if I focused on saying yes instead, I wondered. If just for one day (at a time), I decided to say Yes to living a healthy lifestyle, meaning eating regular home-made meals as much as possible, eating fresh organic fruits and vegetables, taking more naps.
What if I said Yes to my inner cranky two-year-old who is tired of not getting her own way. It's easy for me to cave in to keep the peace and let my kids have what they crave, beg, and plead for. It's hard for me to stand up for my rights, my time, my use of the car in the evening, my channel on TV.
What if I said Yes to more alone time - I know this is a weird time of year to be calling for alone time - but just now, my two young adults headed off to the mall to do some Christmas shopping, my aunt who is dropping by from Toronto (a 7 hour drive away) has not arrived yet, and I have a whole hour or two to myself, to blog, to walk outside in the unusually warm sunny weather, to stretch out and do some yoga: my choice for me time.
I don't know about you, but I am so unused to taking this down time to actually relax and do nothing in, that it takes some effort. I am retraining myself to put myself on the agenda, somewhere between two loads of my son's dorm laundry, sweeping the floor and writing that article for January 2.
Yesterday I had an hour before supper, while the onion soup was simmering, to sit and read a new book. That is something I would never have allowed myself to do before menopause forced me to rest more - sit and read before all the dishes were done, everyone fed, and me half-asleep in bed trying to keep my eyes from closing.
I tell you, saying Yes to yourself is a very healthy way to counter all the 'shoulds' and banish the drive to perfectionism that overtakes some women around the Holidays. Your house may not be magazine perfect, your decorations may be getting dusty, but hey, people walk into your home to be with you, to relax in your lovely presence. De-stress for the holidays, before, during and after. Be gentle with yourself....you deserve it.
Now, I must go wrap those three bags of presents hiding in my closet...
ps The Tao of Turning Fifty is coming soon, in January 2012. stay tuned...