If you have ever invited me to a fun event, to a dinner, or even out for coffee, you may have been surprised to hear me say “no thanks.” Not that I always say “no” to opportunities! But lately, I am getting better at turning things down.

Saying “no” is difficult when it means missing something that sounds really fun, or an opportunity to support a friend I believe in. And yes, I still get stressed over the idea of letting people down. But I do not lose sleep over it. That’s because I’ve realized that the better I sleep, the better my whole life goes!

Remember when you were young, or even just a few years ago before you became a mom—when you really, truly believed you could have it all and do it all? I do! What were we thinking? I don’t know a single woman, mother or not, who would say she has “it all.” She is much more likely to tell you what she would do, if there were more hours in the day. And then, if you ask, she will tell you that she decided what was most important to her, and chose to let some other things fall away.

This is the choice we all make: to focus on our deepest, most driving passions, and choose them repeatedly instead of following the other options. We all do it: it would be impossible to actually follow up on every single opportunity or option, right? And yet, there is often a nagging sense that we should try just a little harder to show up for one more event, to give a little more time to the people we care about, or just to keep the house a little more organized.

What I have realized is that, given the very strict 24-hour limit to each day, I simply do not have time to do everything. And most importantly, it is not a smart idea for me to try to do everything, because that would leave no time to sleep!

I love to sleep, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I try to be in bed for eight or nine hours a night, which as a mom is very hard to do! It is especially hard at 6:30 in the morning, which is the time I feel like I should be getting up—but I just can’t get out of bed before seven. I have tried, oh my goodness, have I tried! But in the end, I had to acknowledge that I need sleep and give myself permission to do it.

Have you been sleep deprived in your life? I’m sure you have, at one point or another (or quite frequently: 40% of Americans don’t get enough sleep regularly). When you aren’t rested, you can’t think as well; your body doesn’t function as well; and you simply get less done. So those late nights and early mornings might actually be costing you more than the benefit they bring!

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8, NKJ)

Will and I were speaking recently with our pastor about debt, which I actually believe has a lot to do with this topic. The lesson is that, while it is normal (and sometimes wise) to borrow and lend money, you should not consistently be in debt. To be in debt means that you are trying to get more than you need or more than you can truly afford. Debt builds on itself until it controls you.

I believe that we go into debt toward ourselves all the time, too. How often do you push yourself to do a little more than you really want to, and promise yourself to make it up later with a nap or a day off? What if that day off never comes? You simply get more tired and more worn down, until your exhaustion controls you.

This is why I make time for sleep, without guilt. It is always going to be difficult for me to say “no” to people, events, and experiences, but I know that every time I say “no” to one thing, I am saying “yes” to another. Whenever I can, I try to say “yes” to myself, to my health, and to my wellbeing!

Can you find a way to start doing the same?

With Love and Mommy Hugs,
Pamela Zimmer

Photo source: https://unsplash.com/photos/PIQCA1ReSgU