Off Switch

By Kara Richardson Whitely, author of Gorge

For many years, as I struggled with weight, I didn’t have an off switch.

It wasn’t just with food. It was with people pleasing. It was about shoving as many things into my schedule whether it served me or not. I said yes to volunteer gigs even when I struggled to make a living. I was often left feeling spent and unappreciated.

As I’ve been on a journey of wellness, I’ve learned that one of the most important things I can do, is to say no. To pass on an event.  For years, when I was struggling to make a name for myself and to make a living, I felt I needed to say yes. I wrote for “exposure.” However, free projects often lead to more free projects. More pull on my time.

The truth was that I needed to appreciate my own time first. It is still something I have to work on even today. If I appreciate my time, I can prioritize the things that make me feel healthier – having time to prepare a delicious and healthy meal, taking time to walk, hike or take on an active activity that brings me joy and even to sleep (Nothing makes me more prone to go off the deep-end of food consumption and mood than being overtired). 

Sometimes, there needs to be an off switch. This summer, I had a reminder of that. I planned a massive road trip with my family, which was, for the most part, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken even if I did speaking events along the way. But I booked one too many.

There was a final event, which would have taken us two hours out of the way and gotten us home in the wee hours of the night. I admit, I probably shouldn’t have said yes in the first place. When I looked at the map, it meant enduring more time in the car than necessary not only for me, but my traveling companions. But because it would mean that I wouldn’t get enough sleep between the event and the next day, when I had to fly to Denver.

And I was feeling sick. My son wasn’t well, and I was clearly catching what he had. It was time to go home.  

So then, the day before the event, I had to cancel. I’ve never cancelled an event, especially not the day before but it was something I needed to do for my health, for my family, for me.

I harbored so much guilt about passing but as the hours past of when I was supposed to be speaking, I realized the world didn’t end. Perhaps there were some disappointed people who showed up, only to realize I wasn’t there.

Little did they know I was showing up for myself.

Follow Kara on Connect @gorgegirl15

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