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I’m just as guilty.

I find myself caught up in, and even writing about, what we “should’ be doing in this current coronavirus environment.

Insert pause.

On a walk this week (yes, something that we all should be doing!), I started reflecting on things that I am purposefully NOT doing right now.

Not doing certain things or saying no to certain things can be equally as powerful as adding in certain things.


I am not lifting weights or painting my nails.

Many of my peers are actually doubling down right now on fitness or beauty – to help them feel better in this time of uncertainty – a great strategy that I would widely endorse for many people. Personally, I realized I need to say no. I am using this time to “heal” some things that never get breathing room in the “normalcy.”

I’m giving my muscles an “off-season” – time to rest and do some healing from overuse. They will be primed to come back stronger when re-engaged. Which muscles, either literally or figuratively, can you give an off-season? 

As for my nails, they need breathing room. I cannot remember the last time my toes have not had polish on them. I have been suffocating that keratin for years! Time to allow them to breathe. What can you eliminate in your life right now to give you some breathing room?


I am not watching TV.

Full disclosure here, I do not really have a problem with avoiding the “TV” even in “normal” times. My TV is on for usually only 2 things:  football and an occasional movie.

I have been hearing that this is the perfect time to catch up on a series or binge-watching. Sure, I’ll miss out on some pop-culture, but I’m just saying no. I believe my time right now is better spent elsewhere.

I am investing time in things that will have a multiplier effect on my life coming out of the pandemic. Right now, I’m directing my “extra” time to building relationships. The number of friends and colleagues whom I have been able to reconnect with is growing daily. Whether conversations have been centered on helping, listening, or just catching up – relationships and my network will be stronger post-pandemic. I know that TV would get in the way of that. If you turned off the TV, even for a few hours a week, what is a win that you can replace it with?


I am not feeling as guilty.

I have suffered for years from the “yes” syndrome. I tend to be a people pleaser and can have a hard time saying “no.” I want to serve, I want to be liked, and I want to help.

Historically, this has led to excessive work hours and/or prioritization and focus killers and distractions.

In these recent weeks, there have been asks or just day-to-day tasks that have been put aside. They simply either just need to wait or be eliminated altogether. Normally the guilt would be eating me alive by now, but it is not.

Given the critical urgency of certain business and human needs, there has not been any room for guilt. It is go-time. The freedom from a guiltless mindset right now has been mind-blowing for me.  This gift is something I plan on continuing to work on and build upon long after this crisis is over.   What life-draining tendency do you have that needs a cure?


No is a powerful word. A word that I am committed to saying more and more often. I use three strategies for saying that game-changing word …more on that coming soon.

In the meantime, I encourage you to think about what you should NOT be doing right now. What healing, breathing room, multiplier, or freedom awaits you in the “no”?

Author Doreen Linneman

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