15 ways to take up more space in your life

Last week’s episode of Nurturing Habit was all about why we women and mothers need to take up more space in the world, and what it looks like when we don’t. If you missed that episode, you can listen to it here.

What I’m noticing in my work with my clients (and frankly, also in my own life) is that even when we believe that we are women who deserve to have a voice, to take up space, to have support, we don’t always claim it. We make ourselves smaller, we apologize for our unwelcome opinions, we go out of our way to make other people more comfortable.


We need to just cut that out.

When you practice taking up space, you are telling the world you matter. You are showing people how you expect to be treated. You are teaching your children how they should expect to be treated. I’m not saying that this path doesn’t come with bumps and people who will have differing opinions - it absolutely does - but I’m saying do it anyway.

Look at the Women’s March. Look at the #metoo movement. Look at all the POC and LGBTQ people who are standing up and saying they expect to be treated fairly, equally, and not like they have experienced their lives thus far.

This is what it looks like to take up space. It can be big, a part of a movement, or it can be small acts of space-taking in your life, with the people you interact with every day.

15 Ways to Take Up More Space

If you aren’t sure where to start, or if the whole idea of taking up more space feels pretty scary, here are 15 not-so-scary ways to practice taking up a little more space in your daily life.

  1. Drop the words “sorry” and “just” from your vocabulary (unless you are actually apologizing).

  2. Ask for what you need and don’t assume how anyone will respond to you. Yeah, they might say no, but also, they might say yes!. I’ve recently been so surprised how often people are willing to do things for me, when I ask very specifically for what I need.

  3. Practice saying no to things that take up time you could be using for what YOU want.

  4. Schedule time for you. I recently did some money coaching with Rachelle Magadan (look for her on an upcoming Nurturing Habit episode), and she helped me figure out that I need a line item in my budget for getting a babysitter so I can have time alone sometimes. This has been revolutionary for me!

  5. Order the food you really like. It doesn’t matter if other people at the table like it or not.

  6. Wear an attention-getting outfit, and then own the attention it gets you (when you say “Thank you,” see # 12 below))

  7. Pay for something that makes your life easier (house cleaning, nanny, etc.). I once met a woman who hired what she called a Dinner Nanny, who picked up her kids from school, meal-planned, grocery shopped and then cooked dinner for the family, so that the mom could spend the evening actually spending time with her kids, instead of stressing out about food prep and cooking. When she told this to the group of women I was with at the event where I met her, we all just sat around with our jaws dropped in envy. What is one thing you hate doing that you could outsource, and then have time to do something where your presence would really make an impact?

  8. Stop accommodating other people’s feelings, when it is very inconvenient for you. I talked to a woman in a Facebook group recently who had been throwing two birthday parties for each of her kids for the last three years, because her family doesn’t get along with her husband’s family. This year, she’s decided to quit, and invite them all to one party, where they can be adults and get along or not come - their choice.

  9. Buy new underwear - anything that makes you feel really comfortable and sexy (because sexy does not have to mean you are uncomfortable).

  10. Go somewhere alone. A day, an overnight, a week. It doesn’t really matter. Practice the art of meeting your own needs with no interruptions.

  11. Tell someone about something you’ve accomplished. Let yourself be really proud and excited about it. Don’t downplay any part.

  12. When you get a compliment, say,, “Thank you,” and then stop. No dismissing or downplaying it!

  13. Shake up your routine. Drive a different way to school, or to work. Try a new recipe. Take a class in something you’ve never tried before.

  14. State an opinion. Don’t agree with the point being made? Speak up! You can start small. Start at the dinner table. Practice in casual conversation. This doesn’t have to be high-stakes! Try something like, “Hey, I’m not so into the Bachelor, but have you seen Queer Eye? That show is awesome!"

  15. Say, “No.” Don’t apologize, don’t hedge, just let your “No,” be a complete sentence.

When you step out, when you play bigger, you will inspire others to do the same. You might start a revolution. Wouldn’t that be cool? 

For a much deeper dive into this topic, make sure you listen to episode 37 of Nurturing Habit.

Where are you not taking up space in your life, but you need to?