"No" is the new "Yes" – Doing LESS this holiday season

I’m sorry I haven’t written in a while. I’ve been embracing the lazy lately. Well, not really. I’m still cranking away in my full-time job, enjoying my fitness passion and raising a toddler while my husband finishes up the busiest part of his football season, but when I’m not doing one of those three things, you’ll find me doing a lot LESS than ever.
img_4043I’m currently sitting on the sofa at 7pm on a Saturday night while Justin works late and Gianna is fast asleep. I’m enjoying a portable back massager which is really digging into the nooks and crannies that have been really bothering me lately. I’ve got my favorite flannel pajamas on, and I have no idea what I’m eating for dinner. The highlight of my day was teaching my morning spin class and taking Gianna to the park and on our very own “light tour” in the neighborhood. We walked (I walked, she strolled) around bundled up in our down coats and looked at all of the decorations on our neighbors houses. Lots of “oooohs” coming from the stroller below me. I am sure we could have done something more fun on our mother-daughter afternoon together like going to one of the amazing light festivals or Christmas tree farms today, but that would have involved a lot more planning and a lot more stress (even though sometimes in our minds, we don’t picture that part of the adventure), but today I decided that “less” was on the agenda.


I have one of those week-by-week day planners which I love, and at the end of each week when I turn to the next week and there is nothing scheduled, I just smile. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had some fun this month, but on the weekends I do my best to keep most days wide open with no commitments.

I’ve been doing less during the week as well. Every morning when I used to wake up I would immediately make our bed. I think I went a solid 5 YEARS without leaving the house unless the bed was made. I’d go downstairs and after drinking my morning lemon water, I would start unloading the dishwasher. Bang. Bang. Two chores done every morning, without fail. One day I just thought screw it, I’m not making the bed. And guess what, it was OKAY. The world did not end. Life went on as usual. Lately, I haven’t been emptying the dishwasher until well into the afternoon. I have limited time in the morning with Gianna before I have to take her to her babysitter’s house. Did I really want to spend 5 or 10 minutes doing a chore, when I could do it later in the day when she wasn’t home? No. I didn’t.

I’ve been seriously slacking in the kitchen too. I remember when I first started dating my husband, and I would cook these awesome meals every weeknight for him. I remember one night, I made this new Italian Quinoa casserole recipe. It seriously took like an hour of just prep work. He came home from work. We sat down to dinner, and before he even took a bite, I said to him, “Before you comment on this dish, I want you to know it took me AN HOUR to make.” Time is SO VALUABLE to me, so an hour in my world is like $100, easy. Justin, God love him, let me down gently that while it was a great dish, he preferred the 5-minute meatloaf. This month has been a lot more 5-minute meatloaves, taco night(s), and sausages in the slow cooker with a jar of store-bought sauce. It’s been a lot more of, “I’m not cooking. Pick something up for us.” And guess what, that’s OKAY. No one expects gourmet dinners each night, and I am using the time I have on other things, like reading Gianna Elmo books and giving her extra snuggles.

I’ve been saying no to events or commitments that take time away from our family unit. The football season is a stressful and demanding time for our family, so every second that we have together counts. I am very comfortable saying “no,” but I know not everyone is as used to practicing that word. If you’re a people-pleaser or a chronic yes-er, and you need to ease your way into this new way responding, try using a different phrase that gets the same point across.

“That doesn’t work for me.”

“I am fully committed that day.”

“Sorry, I am booked.”

You don’t need to elaborate or explain. “No” is a complete sentence, and so are these phrases. With every no I give, I know that I am saying yes to something that is more important to my core commitments: my family and my mental and physical health.

As a result of doing less, I feel MORE satisfied than ever. I am relaxed on the weekends. I can really recharge my batteries to get prepared for a busy week. I am sleeping better than ever. Many nights I sleep all of the way through the night without waking once, enjoying 8 or 9 hours of sleep each night. This uninterrupted sleep hasn’t happened for me in years. My mind is very clear. I am not always thinking of the next thing I have to do, because I have plenty of time now to do everything. I am at peace. This rest is just what I needed after a busy fall of training and commitments.

When January comes. I’ll be ready to hit it hard again. My next macro group begins on January 9th, the same day that my 12-week prep starts for my next bikini competition which is on April 1st. I know I’ll be better prepared to handle MORE because of this break of doing less. I will still say “no” a fair amount, and I certainly won’t be making anymore quinoa casseroles, but I’m excited to charge forward with exciting new goals and challenges. I hope you’ll join me and put your feet up more this holiday season. Less is the new more.