Wake up at 6am, drive through traffic to get to work, allow the hasty driver behind you to push in front, start your work, agree to take on those extra tasks (even though you’re already bogged down), stay behind late to finish those extra tasks, agree to cover the early shift tomorrow, drive through traffic to get home, help your friend out with their dissertation paper, lend another friend £20 until they get paid, order a take away because you’re so drained, skip the bubble bath that you promised yourself because you’re tired, drag yourself to bed. Do it all again tomorrow.
Sound draining? It does to me too. This is the reality of so many of us, including myself. Who would have thought that the 3 lettered word, yes, could be so mentally tiring? Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to say yes. Saying yes can open up new doors and bring about new and exciting experiences. But saying yes when you really mean no, pushing down your no, so to speak, can be really self-damaging. Why you ask? Well, put it this way, how does it make you feel when you say yes to something, instead of no? I mean, really make you feel? On the inside? I can tell you, it makes me feel chipped away at, disempowered, less confident in myself and my wants, self-denied. Ultimately, the more I say yes, when I really mean no, the more I feel less of me and more of someone else. These are negative feelings and the opposite of health and wellness.
As a woman you may find that you experience this even more so, we often have an unconscious desire to want to nurture, heal and please others. We want our families to be happy and to never go without, we want our parents to be proud of our accomplishments, we want to be acknowledged and deemed useful at work, we want to be there for our friends no matter the weather, we want to be a shoulder to cry on, we want to be the reliable ones, the ones who can get the job done. This is our strength and power. But like the saying goes, too much of one thing is never a good thing. When you are continuously giving bits of yourself away without putting back the fuel, you can get pretty burnt out.
“So what can I do to avoid over stretching myself?” you ask. Well, if it doesn’t sit right with you, try saying no! It is easier said than done, I know. But let’s change the narrative, when we say no to people, we are actually saying YES to ourselves. Now that is wellness! “No Sally, I can’t stay late tonight, got things to do when I get in”, “sorry Derek, I can’t make it out tonight, got to wash my hair!” Though these excuses sound a bit ridiculous and are for humour purposes, I’m sure you get the picture.
Learning the art of saying no tactfully can be very self-empowering. It allows you to take back some control, it sets boundaries and saves energy. Saying no can unapologetically free up some time for you, for the things that you want to do, self-care, self-development and self- building. People might even begin to respect your no. It shows assertiveness, SELF-awareness and confidence.
It’s all about being intentional with choices. It’s ok to take your time before you give yourself away. Before making a decision one way or another, think about whether you have self-capacity for it mentally and physically. If you don’t, then know it’s ok to say no and stand firm in your decision, because it means you’re saying yes to yourself!
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