6 Essential Steps to Saying No as an Essential Part of Your Self Care

We women, especially mothers, have a tendency to say yes to virtually everything asked of them.

We are running it all, organising it all, juggling it all.

But have you thought about the true toll this takes on you?

Maybe it's time to start saying no for your own self care?

Learning to say no is part of better self-care, read on to learn how to do it.

Why do we say yes to everything?

School fundraiser, yes; take grandma to her hospital appointment, yes; finish that work report by midday on Tuesday, yes; run the carpool, yes; yes, yes, yes.

But when that day or week comes round, and you are doing it all, burnout is sure to rear its ugly head. 

As a child, girls are often raised to be considerate to others, and to accommodate them as much as possible.

As women we grow up to have this ingrained belief that nice girls help others, it’s not nice to say no, and that we need to 'have it all' by doing it all.

But the cost of all this saying yes is so high.

We're stressed, overwhelmed and worn out.

And, by saying yes to everyone else, are we saying no to ourselves?

Chances are that is exactly what you are doing, probably without knowing it.

Quite honestly, we need to stop saying yes.

But how do you know exactly when enough is enough?

Why should you say no?

Saying yes and doing everything for everyone quickly piles on the stress.

Then feelings of overwhelm as you do too much can both cause and add to chronic stress.

But we all know doing too much can easily contribute to elevated stress levels, but just how do we start saying no?

You have to understand your own boundaries and the limitations of what you can fit into the time you have available.

We all ahve limited time and it's vital to take care of yourself first.

Your children will be a priority of course, but putting them and yourself first will necessarily mean saying no to family and friends to maintain your own health and wellness.

That means saying yes to a fun evening trip to the playground or a nature walk with your kids at the weekend, but no to baking for the school fair or helping with the after school art club.

Why do you feel bad saying no?

We feel obliged to say yes to those who ask, perhaps because of that ingrained need to please people.

But that is also a common cause of feelings of resentment.

If you feel like you have to say yes to everything certain people ask of you, perhaps it's because the person asking has helped you in the past.

But why do you feel obliged to be at their beck and call?

You can't feel obliged forever, so think about whether your 'debt' has been repaid now.

Feeling obliged builds resentment, and resentment can cause stress, even making you physically ill in the long run.

Do what you need to do for yourself and let people know you are putting yourself first.

If this proves to be an issue for someone, it may even be best to sever ties and remove toxic people from your life.

Do you feel like a party pooper if you say no?

FOMO isn't just something for the under 30s, you know!

Even us mums can feel like we are missing soemthing by saying no, or like a party pooper for being the one who doesn't want to go out.

Whether it's after work drinks or you have single friends who need some company on a night out, partying probably isn't on your agenda so much any more!

If you have responsibilities or things to do the next morning, it's OK to call it a night early on.

You won't do yourself any favours if you're sleep deprived, hungover and miserable the next day.

Remember, saying yes to big nights out is saying no to your wellbeing for the next day or two.

Not an option when you have kids!

If you are going out set some ground rules for yourself in advance and manage your friends or colleagues expectations by telling them when you will need ot leave well in advance.

Are you enabling others’ bad behaviour?

It happens to us all.

From your kids asking for something, hearing no and having a meltdown, to friends begging you for a loan, money is a huge area of guilt and obligation where we often ignore our own needs.

While unnecessary spending or giving a loan may seem relatively insignificant at the time, it enables bad behaviour and will lead to more requests in the future.

When you say no, it needs to stay that way.

It's all about setting limits and conveying those limits clearly to whoever is asking.

NO is not a bad word

You are allowed to value your time, keep your own money, and to do what you want to do.

You don’t have to say yes to everyone and everything.

It’s OK to rock the boat, things don’t have to be perfect all the time.

Say no when you need to and stick to it, no matter how much cajoling and whining it elicits - even from other adults!

If you keep saying yes to everything you will only end up resenting others, and yourself for being weak. 

You also risk not ever doing what you want to do by doing things for everyone else and allowing others to walk over you.

Remember, you need to look after yourself before you can look after anyone else.

Take some time out for self care when you need to, say no to some things, and you'll feel happier, more fulfilled and better able to cope with the things you do want to spend your time doing.

Good luck, mama!

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