Saying No Is Self Care, Here’s How...

You are a busy, busy person. You get up early in the morning and start your day, and end your days grading papers and planning for your next day. You have to grade papers, write lesson plans attend meetings, contact parents, do report cards and that's all outside of actual teaching. When does that leave time for family, friends and most importantly YOU? How many teachers neglect the important people in their lives and themselves because they work around the clock?

Your dedication makes it possible for people to learn everything that they need in order to be successful in their next phase in life. But what about you? Besides your normal responsibilities, you have so many other obligations. There are family needs to take care of, there are committees to serve on and after school activities that need to be organized and supervised. There are so many things to do. But what about you?

When is the last time you took a step back and asked yourself if you were getting what you needed? When is the last time you evaluated if what are doing with your life makes you happy? We are not meant to only work, come home, and tend to duties. We are built for joy as well as duty. That means that you are going to need to find another way to be. But how do we find our way back to joy? One of the best places to start is by saying no to the things that don’t bring us joy.

How do we get to a place in life where we are able to say no? We love the idea of making the people around us happy. The disappointment in their faces when we see that our no has let them down in some way is hard to bear. But you have to learn how to say no. It is essential for self-care, and here is why:

  1. You are only one person - you cannot be responsible for saving the entire world. You have minds to shape, lessons to teach. You need as much energy as possible to make that happen. You are one person, so you cannot do it all. Sometimes you have to know your limitations and just say no.
  2. There is probably someone else who can help - Most of the time, though we like to believe we are the rescuers of everyone, there is usually someone else who can do what we are being asked to do. If you don’t have space in your life to fulfill the request your person is making of you, let them move on to the next person.
  3. You don’t want to grow resentful - if you are the type who always says no, never wants to let anyone down, and always shows up, you are going to eventually grow resentful. I know that this feels unlikely to you right now, but trust me, it is the truth. You are going to be tired, and you’ll find that not everyone who you have helped is going to say yes to you, and you are going to be very angry at them for it. Remember, we do things out of the kindness of our hearts, and while it is ok to help from a sense of obligation, that should not be so burdensome that you cannot enjoy your life.

Saying no feels like one of the hardest things you can do sometimes. Take a deep breath. Though it will take some getting used to, you are going to find that your world and your schedule will open up to make time for the things that matter to you.


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