The Art of Saying ‘No’ | Practicing Self-Care

Some people are amazing at saying ‘No.’ I am not one of these people.

Saying ‘No’ to someone stirs up so many things in me – I don’t want to hurt any feelings, I want to be someone that people can rely on, I really want to help others out and feel like I should help others out and so on and so on. What I am starting to learn (slowly and with a tremendous amount of effort and mindfulness) is that saying no is not about any of the things I said above. Saying ‘No’ is about knowing how much I can handle without becoming overwhelmed. Saying ‘No’ is about enjoying the things I say ‘Yes’ to and not spending all of my time worrying and rushing onto the next thing. Our days are so packed with activities, especially as the weather warms up and people want to get out and enjoy it as much as possible…because who knows when it will snow again in Minnesota!?

Saying ‘No’ is about self-care. Could I go out to dinner with a friend on a weeknight? Sure, I have to eat, right? Would I rather sit in my backyard wearing sweatpants and watching my kids play after a wildly busy day at work? Yep. It is all about balance – saying ‘Yes’ when it feels right AND giving ourselves permission to say ‘No’ when it doesn’t. We can’t care for others if we are not caring for ourselves.

Written by Nicole Uzendoski, MSW, LICSW