Are you a people pleaser?

Do you…

Go out with coworkers because everyone else is going?

Pick up a friend’s kids from school, derailing your tasks for the day?

Eat unwanted foods because a family member made it “especially for you?”

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have trouble saying no. Always saying yes can lead to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Taking on more than you can handle will cause you to be spread too thin. You won’t be at your best for yourself or others. You have limited time and energy and if you use yours for other people, it could lead to burnout.

Be aware of why

Take note of what keeps you from saying no. Is it a fear of missing out (FOMO)? Do you feel guilty? Are you worried about the response?

Ask yourself some questions. Do I have the time and energy to do this? Is this something I want to do? Then, separate what is being asked from who is asking. You are saying no to the request, not the person.1,2 Balance your willingness to help others with a willingness to help yourself.

Learn to say no

We’re all entitled to set healthy boundaries to find balance in our lives. There’s no need to feel bad, guilty or defensive. The key is finding a way to say no that feels natural to you.If there’s a situation or a person you’re apprehensive about facing, role-play saying no with a trusted friend or family member. Communicate clearly and be direct.3 It’s OK to say, “I am sorry. I cannot help you because (list your reason).”4

Making yourself a priority

It’s helpful to make a list of your tasks for the day and prioritize them. If someone asks you for help, look at your list before answering. Do you have time to squeeze another person’s tasks onto your list? The list will help you spell out your needs and limitations. Saying no lets you accomplish your own goals.

Saying no is not a negative—it’s you saying yes to your own needs.

It’s a form of self-care. And it can help prevent you from feeling over-extended and exhausted.Setting healthy boundaries can benefit your mental well-being. It will also help you feel self-assured and empowered.4

Find my therapist

Need to kick up your self-care? Follow these 5 strategies and tips.

Published March 6, 2024



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