Hi, lovelies! 💛 TGIF!! I hope you’re having a wonderful Friday! For this week’s blog post, I wanted to chat with y’all about something that’s been on my mind a lot, lately: learning how to say “no” as a part of self care. Practicing self care looks different for everyone — whether it’s keeping a journal to express yourself, getting enough fruits and veggies, or watching a TV show that makes you laugh.
Learning how to say “no” isn’t talked about quite as often, though. I’ve touched on this topic before, but felt it was necessary to dedicate a whole post to this form of self care.
When Saying No is a Form of Self Love
According to Psychology Today, setting boundaries is a crucial aspect of self love. Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D. states, “You’ll love yourself more when you set limits or say no to work, love, or activities that deplete or harm you physically, emotionally and spiritually, or express poorly who you are.”
Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with saying “no” to plans, opportunities, and commitments. I’d feel this overwhelming sense of guilt until I eventually overcommitted myself. It could be as small as going out when I needed time alone, signing up for too many extracurriculars at school, or even accepting a couple of job offers that didn’t seem like a good fit for me.
To this day, I still battle with myself when it comes to taking on too many commitments at once. It’s been getting better though as I get older. I wanted to share a few strategies that I’ve picked up on, especially within the last few years. Remember that your mental health comes first and it’s important to take care of yourself.
1. Listen to your heart.
Call it your “inner voice” or maybe just plain “intuition.” Although this strategy isn’t 100% accurate every time, following your instincts can go a long way. I personally have always had a difficult time with trusting myself and would often shut out gut feelings. Next time you’re unsure of whether or not you want to pursue an opportunity–whether it’s a job or going on a blind date–try taking a moment to listen to yourself.
2. Assess what’s on your plate right now.
Are you spreading yourself way too thin? Check your calendar and make sure you’ve given yourself enough time to recharge. If you have too much on your plate and continue adding things to your to-do list, you may run the risk of burning out. Keeping a journal is a great way to map out your day efficiently. It’ll also help you figure out if you’re overscheduling yourself.
3. Once you’ve made a decision, avoid going back and forth.
A lot of times when we say “no” to things, we’ll end up feeling a sense of guilt afterwards. We’ll tell ourselves things like “Maybe this opportunity would have been good for me…” or “What if so and so doesn’t like me anymore because I had to cancel our plans?”
These kind of thoughts are totally common, but keep in mind that it’s not feasible to say yes to everything. On top of that, just because something is a wonderful opportunity doesn’t necessarily make it the right opportunity for your specific needs. Maybe this is a follow up to #1, but letting go of “what ifs” and “maybe I should haves” is one of the most freeing feelings ever.
4. Remember that your wellbeing is important.
Keep in mind that sometimes saying “no” is the best thing for your wellbeing. Looking after your mental health isn’t selfish and you can’t help others if you’re running on empty.
5. Speak kindly to yourself.
This point hits pretty close to home for me because of my struggles with anxiety. I’ve had to cancel plans before because I was fighting a panic attack or experiencing a high anxiety day. Immediately after I called up friends or even exes, I’d criticize myself for cancelling. Throughout the years, I’ve learned that this kind of criticism is toxic and unproductive.
Always speak to yourself like how you’d speak to someone else, with kindness and compassion.
It can be difficult to gather the courage to say “no.”
Rehearsing what you’re going to say will help you gain confidence in your decision. If you feel awkward practicing alone, ask someone you trust to act as the other person, whether it’s a friend, your S/O, or a mentor. State your feelings out loud a few times until you feel more comfortable.
7. Ask yourself: am I only saying yes for others?
Sometimes, we find ourselves overcommitting to things out of obligation or guilt. We don’t want to let anyone around us down and say “yes” to things (even if it negatively impacts our mental health). It may be majoring in a field of study because your parents feel it’s best or saying “yes” to a job even if the position makes you unhappy.
Before making a decision, ask yourself: am I saying “yes” because I want to? Or am I doing this to please the people around me?
8. Continue checking in with yourself.
Keep in mind that learning how to say “no” and trusting yourself is a process. If you find yourself overcommitting again, take a step back and focus on your wellbeing first. Go for a run, meditate, enjoy a relaxing evening at the beach. Continue checking in with yourself and you’ll begin to notice when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Eventually, it’ll be easier to say “no” to things that don’t make you happy or fulfilled.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and it was helpful, lovelies! 💗Have a great rest of your Friday!! x
Do you ever find yourself overcommitting yourself to things? Also, which point did you relate to or find the most helpful?