It’s Okay

Often times, many of us fill our personal calendar with far too many commitments. Whether it is an early morning workout class when we know our body needs sleep or a happy hour when we know our body has had more than enough wine. We feel the need to say yes to everything unless we have other plans.

In fact, at least once a week during our daily chats, my mom will recommend that I slow down.

Don’t you think you and Bo need a weekend with no plans?

Don’t you need an evening just to relax?

Do you really need to go to that event?

I often roll my eyes telling my mom that I’m just wired differently and love being around and with people, nurturing relationships and trying new things. Since moving back to New York City, I’ve immersed myself in the blogging and fitness community, a void I felt when living abroad.

just say no

But sometimes, even the most energized people need to take a pause and listen to our minds and bodies. 

Yesterday I found myself stressed and worried about the number of commitments I had on my calendar. After snoozing through my alarm three times, clearly a sign that my body needed sleep, I had the following on my calendar:

Don’t get me wrong; I am thankful to live in NYC and have so many opportunities and have a wonderful and supportive fitness community. But, the thought of rushing from Brooklyn at 5:30pm to head to Central Park and deal with the lines, warm temperatures and craziness of a large event such as the Lole White Yoga Party just wasn’t appealing. The runner happy hour sounded fun and would be a great chance to catch up with a lot of running buddies, but it unfortunately was also starting around 5:30.  While throwing together a quick lunch yesterday, I found myself stressing out while texting with Kristine and Bo. As luck would have it, they both advised me to analyze my commitments.

Do what will make you happiest.

It’s all about attitude. If you won’t be excited at any of the events then don’t do it. It’s worse to be partially present than not present at all.

Since I wasn’t going to leave any one person alone at either event, I wasn’t stressed about bailing at the last minute. My friends going to the yoga event would have each other and the 10,000 other yogis while the runners at happy hour would have plenty of other people with whom to enjoy the cold beers and lovely evening.

I took a few minutes to send emails to a few different people explaining that I was investing in me and doing what I felt my mind and body needed: a workout and a quiet, healthy outdoor dinner with Zoe.

Bar Method


Even though the pictures from both events look wonderful, this morning I woke up smiling and feeling renewed. There was no sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) or regret.

say no stress free

It’s okay to say no sometimes. It’s okay to bail when you know it’s the best decision. It’s okay to take time just for yourself and do what you know will make your mind and body happy.

Your turn: Am I the only one who feels this way or do you fight with the need to say yes to everything? What are your tips? 

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  1. emma September 3, 2015 / 6:57 pm

    After a non-stop summer I’m taking a lot of time during the week to simply catch up on healthy meals + sleep. Even being gentle with myself for skipping am workouts to give myself more rest as a reset. Have you heard of the books: Essentialism? Or The One Thing? I’ve recently finished them and they are all about the power and results that come by focusing. Might be worth a quiet night and read!

  2. Katie @ Live Half Full September 3, 2015 / 7:08 pm

    I constantly struggle with this- but what helps for me is scheduling downtime and protecting it! I try to have at least 2 weeknights and one weekend per month without plans. It makes a HUGE difference, if it’s on my calendar I feel a bit better about saying no.

  3. Catherine September 3, 2015 / 9:24 pm

    This post so resonates with me. I completely ‘get’ where you are coming from but unfortunately I have a few busy weeks coming up where I cannot say no/ feel I must attend events otherwise I am letting people down. October will be a better month for me as I am going to Chicago and London on vacation so will take time for myself then.

    • ashleyd September 4, 2015 / 12:30 pm

      Good luck Catherine! Hopefully you can find some time for you even when it’s busy. 🙂

  4. Katie September 4, 2015 / 11:54 am

    I totally understand! Minneapolis/St. Paul is hard to travel between at peak times, so a few nights of the week I will make plans with friends, but I try to have at least two nights where I go home after work. It might be to catch up on blog/internet stuff, or it might be to cook a big dinner and a couple lunch options for the rest of the week. Either way, its important to arrange your schedule as its best for you. I’ve had those times where I’m in one place, thinking about something else, and its not fun. You’ll find the right balance, it will work out.

    • ashleyd September 4, 2015 / 12:29 pm

      I really like the idea of dedicating 2 nights a week to relax time and think I’ll make this my goal moving forward, thanks Katie!

  5. Kayla September 4, 2015 / 12:06 pm

    I can SO relate. My instinct is to do it all and say yes to EVERYTHING, but that almost always leaves me feeling burnt out and stressed. It can be so hard to say no if you feel like you’re going to let someone down but sometimes the best option really is relaxing and saying no.

    • ashleyd September 4, 2015 / 12:29 pm

      You’re so right Kayla. I feel 100x better after two relaxing evenings, 4 great workouts and some me time.

  6. Abby @ BackAtSquareZero September 4, 2015 / 11:37 pm

    I love having down time on weekends, but am usually go go go during the week. Great job doing what you needed to do for you.

  7. Susan - Nurse on the Run September 5, 2015 / 2:33 am

    Reading your post, it seems to me like perhaps this day was a case of saying yes to things you physically couldn’t get to – two workouts and hanging out with two groups of people in one evening is nearly impossible! I definitely like having time to myself and know how important it is, but I feel like it’s a very New York thing to bail on things last minute and think it’s okay. Not that a million person yoga thing would miss one person, but I feel it’s important to go to group outings when you say you’re going to.

    As I’ve grown older, I’ve found it better to think about who and what I’m committing to, spending my time and energy on things that are truly of interest to me and friends who care about me as well.

    Bar Method is a tough workout! One of my coworkers is also an instructor, and she’s in awesome shape.

  8. Jenna at Boston Chic Party September 9, 2015 / 3:38 pm

    Ash- great post and always a good reminder! I’m guilty of this too and then feeling lots of guilt whenever I say no. Something I need to work on for sure 🙂

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