Curate a “To Don’t” List

Spring cleaning can be executed in myriad ways. Personally, I think periodically refreshing our wellness routines should be just as much of a priority as reorganizing the pantry or closets. Creating more time to implement healthier habits requires intentionality, focus and a heck of a lot of hard work. It takes practice — and patience — to cultivate new skills and behaviors. 

This is why I encourage each of you to say, “No” a little more often. Skip being the one to plan the next office potluck or co-chair a volunteer committee at church. Reflect on the optional activities in your life that seem to take up a bit too much time, plus consistently leave you with less energy to meal prep, get workouts in or attend TOPS chapter meetings. 

Also, don’t wait until you feel completely drained to offload these extraneous commitments. What could be cut or scaled back to have 3-5 more hours available each week for activities that support your health goals? Self-care is not selfish; it’s smart.  

How we live is what makes us real. Curate a "To Don't" List

Start by “shrinking” the to-do’s that deplete your mental energy the most. And if you’re worried about getting pushback from others about your well-being needs becoming more of a priority, practice saying no with a positive spin. Instead of declining an invite with “No, I can’t go to book club. I don’t want to ruin my diet,” say, “Thank you for always including me, but I already got all the stuff to try this new recipe at home. Please tell everyone I’ll try to pop in a different night soon.”  

This allows you to exit the conversation in a chill manner by reminding friends you’ll likely say yes in the future. This also serves as a mental note to yourself that you are not missing out, but are instead choosing to “treat yourself” in a different way. Mastering the art of saying no can be tough. However, when we keep envisioning the healthier lifestyle we’re working toward, it’s doable. 

Let me know how you’ve recently taken some “me time” in the comment box below. Hope the entire TOPS community has an amazing April! 


PS: For anyone who wants to do some serious tidying up within the next couple of months, check out this video for DIY decluttering advice

6 thoughts on “Curate a “To Don’t” List

  1. My “me” time is going to the gym four mornings a week for about 50 minutes each time. As the weather is getting warmer, trying to allow 20-30 minutes for a outdoor walk. It’s not always doable every day, but it helps me clear my head when I’m outdoors. Our well being is the key, whether it be physical or mental!!

    1. Robin,
      I can totally relate since my daily workout is also a “mandatory” part of my self-care routine. Sometimes, it’s the only alone and/or uninterrupted time I get all day.

  2. I’m saying no to meal get togethers at restaurants a couple days before our TOPS meetings because these have a way of undermining the healthy choices I’ve made during the week. Even though I tell myself to take half home or use salad dressings sparingly I am better off saying no at times instead of feeling guilty and adding pressure to undue the damage and keeps my KOPS status.

    1. Sounds like that self-awareness is helping you make choices that are aligned with your goals, Sandy. But I also hope there are times you are able to dine out and not feel “guilty” afterwards…because ‘good food enjoyed in good company’ is a pleasure none of us should deny ourselves completely.

  3. The older i have gotten, the easier it is to say No. when i was working and raising kids, i said yes to way more than i should have, but quickly learned that i cannot do it all. It was really hard to say no to overtime work and leaving my fellow nurses short staffed. However, I got to a point where i was burning out and knew i needed to say no. Once you say no, it is much easier the next time. Being retired now, I love having all the me time in the world, but still find myself having to say no to some requests. I need to take care of myself.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Theresa!
      We ALL need to take care of ourselves. So I appreciate the personal reflection you shared here.

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