It's the middle of November. Seasonal depression is kicking in, Daylight Savings has me ready for bed by 5pm, and Mercury Retrograde is in full swing. All of this is going on while I'm managing every day adulting, holding myself accountable to the goals I set for the year, preparing for the holidays, and planning for the New Year! Sounds exhausting? It is.
Through this busy season, I've learned that saying "no" is one of the ultimate keys to practicing self-care. In a society where we feel obligated to be everything, be everywhere, and have everything, we have lost the art of simply saying "no." We find ourselves spending time doing things we don't really want to be doing and giving energy to things that don't deserve it at that given moment. It used to be hard for me to say "no" because I didn't want to disappoint others. In reality, the stress of always saying "yes" left me over-committed and ultimately burnt out with no time for myself. Why do we push ourselves beyond our limitations even though our mental and physical capacity is empty? The answer is that we are often times afraid to say "no." Saying "no" can be awkward, make us feel guilty, or even create a sense of FOMO.
One of the first words babies learn (and love to use) is "no." They say it so effortlessly, innocently, and freely. As adults, we need to give ourselves that same liberating feeling, and just say it.
"No" is a complete sentence. You honestly don't owe anyone an explanation. If we don’t learn how to say ”no” to things, then saying “yes” loses its value. Ideally, we should be saying "no" to more things than we're saying "yes" to.
The next time you have a hard time saying "no," be honest and ask yourself:
Is this serving me? How?
Is this something I want to be doing?
Is this a good use of my time?
Is this coming from my heart?
In the bigger scheme of things, saying "no" to things, places, people, and situations that no longer serve you or your purpose is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It's important to properly invest in yourself. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, so we need to spend them doing things that contribute to our advancement and quality of life. This applies to work, relationships, extracurricular activities, diet, situations, habits, and things. I challenge you to put yourself first by saying "no" to things that don't serve you, and say "yes" to you. Trust me, it will feel amazing.