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Need space – just say no

Are you a people pleaser? I am, and at this time of my life, responsibilities and demands are at an all-time high. As a 46-year-old woman, juggling motherhood to three growing kids (two teenage boys and an eight-year-old daughter), a home, a large extended family, friendships, a spouse, and work, including a start-up business, is more than enough to make my head spin most days.

Oh, did I also mention that I want to exercise, eat healthy, read, and go to bed by 10 p.m.? So how does anyone fit all these roles into their day, and feel calm and happy about it? One of the best gifts I have given myself recently is prioritizing my health and family and setting boundaries with my social time.

How to create more space in your life for you

• Time block – I learned the skill of time-blocking at the beginning of my career. Blocking out periods of my day for the various related tasks has been a game changer in allowing me to “multitask” all the things I need to get done. At the beginning of each week, I look at what I want to accomplish and then schedule it into my day. Each task gets a different amount of time based on its priority.

• Say no – When I make my schedule, I usually cut it back in half. I also know that I can only manage three social outings in a month, as any more will leave me feeling stressed and wiped out; the opposite of how it should be. I have learned to be gracious with invitations, but I also understand my limits.

• Self-care – I deserve to be the best version of myself, and so does my family. Ultimately, my family is my most significant responsibility, and I cannot give them my all if I don’t take care of myself.

• The long game – Even though I am currently in a very hectic time of my life, I know it will not always be this way. Thinking about “the long game” gives me the confidence to say no to specific invitations and prioritize a quiet weekend with an early bedtime. One day, I will have the space for more if I choose to. However, as I get older, I have learned that sometimes less really is more.

Karlene Karst holds a BSc in nutrition and is an expert in natural health and wellness. She is the author of several books, and is an upbeat, knowledgeable TV personality and spokesperson appearing on the cover of magazines and TV shows including The Marilyn Denis Show, CTV Morning Live, Global Morning News, and Breakfast TV.


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