For most of my life I suffered with a big issue- I was a chronic people pleaser. I did and said things just to go with the flow and tried really hard to help make other people's lives easier, even if it meant sacrificing my own. This started with my first full time job out of high school, managing a retail store, and continued through most of my work life. It would trickle every now and again into personal situations with family and friends. I soon began to realize that a lot of my anxiety rooted from the belief that I could not let people down and that I had to be perfect with everything I did. When I began teaching yoga I often took classes just because they were offered to me, without once considering my schedule. I took classes for very little pay and ones that had me running all over the place. I took on private clients that lived over an hour away from me and taught most nights and weekends even though that was really the only time my husband and I had to spend together. Needless to say I was stressed out... and burnt out. And never once did I speak up about it.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I give students, fellow teachers and clients now is that it is ok to say no. It's that whole put your oxygen mask on first before assisting others idea.
During these past few months, I've made tough decisions of giving up classes, holding off on workshops and saying no to opportunities that were great, but just didn't work for me at the time.
It took a tremendous amount of stress off of me and helped me focus on the things that needed my immediate attention. Stress and anxiety will never cease to exist, but with practice (and the words 'no thank you') we can control the amount we let into our lives.
Pick one thing this week that you can practice saying no thank you to. Saying no to one thing, opens up the opportunity to say yes to something else.
Every now and again something will happen to us to make us heed our own advice and practice what we truly preach. These past few months have been a testament to that for me.
I'm a formerly anxious chick that found my zen on the mat. I used yoga, pranayama and yogic philosophies to alleviate my debilitating anxiety and get my life back on track. Now, I spend my time teaching yoga, coaching others and helping people find a more peaceful path in life.