Saying ‘Yes’ to ‘No’

I’m kicking off Mental Health Month with one of my biggest personal goals – saying ‘no.’

In both my personal and professional life, I often find myself saying ‘yes’ for the wrong reasons. Whether it’s because I feel guilty or I feel like I’m not doing enough or I feel like someone will think less of me if I actually do say ‘no’ – saying ‘yes’ has become my worst bad habit.

While it’s awesome to be able to always say ‘yes’ to things like dinner plans, nights out, new projects, and bigger responsibilities, it can be detrimental to your mental health if you let it all pile up. Exhibit A: me. I always seem to be making plans or taking things on until the time comes and I end up maxed out on hours in the day. It just leaves me overwhelmed, overloaded with anxiety about my commitments, and then overtired because of the physical and emotional toll it takes on me.

So my newest goal? Saying ‘yes’ to the word ‘no.’ I’m trying to get more comfortable with taking care of myself first and making my mental (and sometimes physical) health a priority. If my goal is to keep my life more balanced and eliminate the stress and anxiety that the word ‘yes’ has been giving me recently, I need to get more comfortable with the word ‘no.’

How do I plan on doing that? In theory, it’s as easy as actually saying the word. But in actuality, I know it’ll be much more difficult. Most importantly, I’ve realized that really looking at pros and cons of a situation before answering the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question will help in how I decide which answer to give. I know the most difficult part of making the decision will come down to the age old saying – just because I can do something doesn’t mean I should.

With a little more practice and a lot more consideration for my mental health, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to get more comfortable with the word ‘no.’

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