Saying NO as a Form of Self-Care
I find it hard to say no to my friends, family, and extra work. For me, working a full week, running this site, and maintaining social relationships is a lot and some weeks one takes priority over another. I have a tendency of saying no only when I get to a breaking point of exhaustion or anxiety, even when my gut tells me I should say no. I am not saying we should bow out of commitments, but sometimes we need to say no. Saying no can be an act of self-care.
For example, I recently had a panic episode at work and wanted to go right home after work. I wanted to take care of myself after a long day by making dinner, and hanging out with my dog. Halfway through the day, my dad texted me and asked if I wanted to get dinner and I said yes even though everything inside me wanted to say no. After work, we met up for dinner, and I couldn't focus on the conversation and picked at my dinner because I was exhausted after having a panic episode and a full day of work. I should have listened to my initial instinct and said no.
While I am still learning how to say no, there are ways we can go about saying no that won’t hurt the other person or burn bridges.
Your manager asks you to take on the responsibilities of one of your colleagues for the week as they are going away on vacation. You think about it and come to the realization; it's just too much work for you to handle on top on your current workload. Or maybe you can handle one or two tasks.
Thanks for thinking of me [name], but I have a lot on my plate this week. Sorry, I was not able to accommodate [name]’s workload this week.
Thanks for thinking of me [name], while I have a lot on my plate, I can take on the [specific task]. I hope this helps!
When it comes to my friends, family, and partner, I find it even harder to say no as they are my loved ones, family, and chosen family. At the same time, it is crucial to establish boundaries when it comes to loved ones. Trust me, I want to be able to say yes and be there for everything, but i am human, and sometimes can't commit to saying yes.
I am not going to break down communication for this one as each person in your personal life is different, but sometimes just saying “no, sorry I can’t make it” or “thanks for the invite, I can’t attend” is enough. I often follow up saying I’ll reach out soon to hang out or let’s grab dinner next week.
It is not easy saying no. As a culture we’ve grown accustomed to valuing yes over no, we are a society of yesers! Why be a no person when you can be a yes person? Say yes to everything! We believe to get ahead, grow deeper relationships, and learn more we need to say yes all the time. I am here to say, saying yes all the time is not always a good thing and it can impact your mental health and happiness in the process. You know yourself best; you know what your body is capable of; listen to what your body is saying, trust your intuition and trust saying no.