This article was provided by our Graduate Intern Hadass Kantorowicz
As we start to re-adjust to life being more social again, many of us may realize there’s far too many options out there. During this new transition, it seems there’s always something going on out there that we may miss out on. Along with this, comes a new kind of pressure, the pressure to go to more events, see more people, and just plain keep up. It can be hard to say no when there’s many compelling options and the added expectation from others to participate in a multitude of social events.
If you’ve been finding yourself confused, overwhelmed, and continuously working to say ‘no’, it may be a good time to get clear on what really matters to you, and then create routine. Having both in place will help you slow down and make choices based on what you need for your life, first and foremost.
Start with getting clear.
What are the top 3-5 things in your life that are a priority to you? These may be quality family time, finishing an important project, or getting daily exercise. Write those down. Then, reflect on how you’ve spent your last few weeks. Has your schedule reflected your priorities? If not, plan your week so that you can consistently do the things that are important to you. For example, if getting more sleep is on your list, ensure that your daily schedule includes an earlier bedtime. If spending more time with family is also a priority, make sure your week has a ‘family day’ scheduled in.
Next, reflect on the things that you like to do but are a lower priority. These may not have to be eliminated, but time spent on these may have to be reduced in order to support your top priorities. Make a list of these things. Then reflect on the last few weeks. Have you been spending more time on these than you’d like? If so, you may have some tough choices to make regarding how much time you spend on these during the week.
Take an honest look at your schedule and ask yourself if anything can be removed from the weekly schedule. For example, if spending time socializing with new people isn’t in your top 5 priorities, yet you seem to have too many social engagements on your calendar on a weekly basis, it may be time to either remove these commitments, or move them to a monthly, instead of a weekly, basis.
Overall, as you start to re-adjust your schedule and routine, your thoughts and feelings may also change. You may feel some sadness at missing out at certain events, but you may also find yourself feeling more clearheaded and stronger due to sticking with your prioritized choices. However, if something really feels missing in your new schedule, it may be good to adjust your schedule again. Look at your weekly schedule and ask yourself if you can fit in the event you are missing. An example is adding another spot for time with friends and choosing to cut down your exercise to four times a week, instead of three.
Remember this: in order to truly enjoy life as well as be available for others, it’s important to regularly prioritize your needs, so make a practice of checking in with yourself on a regular basis. You are worth it!