Self-care

Learn How To Say No

Learn to say no as a part of better self-care

There are too many nice people in the world today…or so it might seem, with the number of “yes” folks you run into on a daily basis. However, what about the lesser heard “evil sibling”, the word “NO”?

As a child, you were raised to be considerate to others, and to accommodate them as much as possible.

How do you know exactly when enough is enough? And more importantly, are you saying no to yourself by saying yes to others every time? Chances are that is exactly what you are doing, even if only subliminally.

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A no to others is a yes to yourself.

Wondering when is the time for you to use your no’s effectively? Take a look and see.

Adding to your stress

Not being able to say no can greatly contribute to elevated stress and really quickly! Doing too much fuels feelings of overwhelm that cause chronic stress, and people who cannot say no are usually the first to fall victim.

It is important to understand your own boundaries and limitations, and while helping others is important, you absolutely must take care of yourself first.

This means sometimes saying no to friends and family, in order to maintain an optimal level of energy, health, and wellness for yourself.

Feeling you must

This is by far the most common cause of resentment in persons, since you are basically “forced” to say yes whether or not you want to. Maybe the person asking did a major favor for you in life, maybe it is a family member.

You feel a sense of obligation to always be at the beck and call for whatever that person requests of you, but you need to ask yourself “when is my bill paid in full?” will you continue to feel a forced sense of obligation forever?

This constant obligatory situation builds resentment, and resentment can literally make you physically ill!

You need to let them know you have to put yourself first, by doing what you need to do. If an issue arises, it may be best to sever ties and remove a toxic person from your life.

Staying up too late

Though it is fully understandable the need to unwind after a tiring week’s work, there is absolutely no justification for staying out late and drinking on a weekday when you have responsibilities to meet the next morning! It is more than likely the result of friends asking or guilting you out even though your better judgement says no.

You’re not doing yourself any favors as you will be sleep deficient the following day, not to mention likely hungover and miserable. Saying yes to that, is saying no to your well-being.

Enabling bad behavior

It has happened to all of us before, from your child asking for something, hearing no and slowly breaking you down, to much worse influences on your life.

From friends begging you for a loan, to unnecessary spending, while it may seem OK or insignificant at the time, it enables bad behavior and disrespect over the long haul.

When you say no, it needs to stay that way. You will gain infinite respect for having unbend-able beliefs and will be looked at as a pillar of strength.

Doormat behavior

There have undoubtedly been numerous times when you sat quietly seething while something (or someone) boils your blood to the point of an eruption, yet you show no outward emotions. This can range from a boss berating you in the office, a bully, or a random stranger who finds it appropriate to assert their dominance over you.

By allowing it, you are doing just that, rolling over and assuming the fetal position. Open your mouth, demand your respect and speak for what you believe in.

 “You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say no.”  -Lori Deschene

When you must temper your “NO”

Being agreeable

You want to be as helpful as possible at work. People are always coming up to you to ask for your help. Your boss gives you tasks because she knows you’ll get the work done on time. Your colleagues hit you up because you are one of the most knowledgeable people on staff. The trouble is, you then have a difficult time getting your own work done. When this happens, you need to learn how to say no.

There are ways to say no that won’t make you seem like the bad person. One great way to do this is to let people know you have other tasks and that you can get to their tasks after you complete yours.

Not when they are lazy

It is fine to help people out, but you should avoid doing their jobs for them. If someone asks you to do something simply because they don’t feel like doing it, you need to take a stand and tell them this is unacceptable. You should begin by asking why they can’t get to it. Perhaps someone else has given them more tasks to do. You need to show them how to say no to those other people.

Some people are, simply put… slackers. They try to pass off all their work to other people. When you find one of these people, confront them. If you do this early on, they will lose the control. This also demonstrates to your other colleagues that you won’t let a slacker have control, and they should follow suit.

Compromise is good

You’ll have a tougher time telling your boss no. She’s the boss after all. However, you do need to let her know that your plate is full and try to compromise. See if you can get a priority of the extra tasks your boss is piling on. Also, if others on the team are currently freed up from their tasks, see if they would be willing to take on those extra duties.

Keep your cool

It’s important to never become angry when others approach you with more work. Smile and find out why they are hitting you up for the extra work. It could be they are not aware of your schedule. You can produce your to-do list if this is the case.

By staying calm, you keep the control in your corner. If you blow up at people, they are going to consider you volatile which makes it difficult for them to compromise with you. It’s rarely a situation in which you will come up the winner. It is okay to be firm with people when you discover they are simply trying to pass work off to you.

Conclusion

NO” is not a bad word. It has been criminalized via society and the illusion that things must be OK all the time. You will only end up feeling put upon by others, and resenting yourself for being weak, and not ever doing what you want to do by allowing others to always walk all over you. You need to look after yourself before you look after anyone else after all, and lead by example!

 

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How Mindfulness Helps You Enjoy The Journey

Gram’s Wisdom Installment 3

Life moved at the pace of molasses when you were a kid. Long drowsy summers broken up by even longer years of school. Those are wondrous years when there were no small moments and enjoying the little things came so naturally to you.

Soon those years are gone and you enter your place in the rat race. Somewhere between the struggle for the corner office and the raising of perfect children the moments seem lost to you and the enjoyments fewer.

     

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Stop and Smell the Flowers

Gram told me that our lives all have the same destination. The journey to that destination has hills and valleys, twists and turns, and too frequently a detour or two. Then she assured me that we all arrive at that destination each in our own good time. You can enjoy the journey or let it pass you by unnoticed. Your choice. The secret she said was to enjoy the trip by repeatedly stopping to look at and smell the flowers. Today we call that being mindful.

 

A balanced life is a myth

You become so involved in your work that everyday things, important things, get shoved to the side and forgotten. Yes, you need to give your job time and concentration, but it shouldn’t be the sum total of your life.

Nor should any other part of your life take up all of your time and mental resources. But life is messy and comes to us in seasons, not resting on the head of a pin. Not waiting for its turn to have your full attention.

Is it any wonder that your life passes you by for days or weeks on end as you exist on autopilot? Do you frequently feel directionless or frazzled?

 

Why mindfulness?

The practice of mindfulness helps to anchor you to moments in your life. When you bask in the glory of a fresh new morning as you listen to birds sing and feel the sun on your skin, you know your enjoyment of the day is better for having had that experience.

Mindfulness is an awareness of yourself, how you feel, your senses, and of your surroundings. Not just as an onlooker as your life slips by, but as an active participant. To be present in a moment and mindful is to open yourself to it completely. To fully engage all of your senses and then examine in a non-judge mental way how they makes you feel.

 

Mindfulness benefits

Mindfulness opens your heart. Because you open your mind and senses to your experiences your heart will follow. The things you do or the time you spend with your loved ones is done with loving hands and a loving heart. Your whole-hearted presence is felt in the lives of those for whom you care.

 

For more benefits check out my previous post 10 Best Reasons For You To Become Mindful.

 

 

“The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.”  -Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

Make time for self-care

Your friends, partners, children, and work all need your care and attention. But for you to do this you must make caring for yourself a priority. Take time out to slow down and take part in fun activities that renew your energy. Take a walk, read a book, or binge on your favorite TV show. You choose. Self-care isn’t selfish it’s a necessity.

 

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7 Ways More Sleep Boosts Your Health

How do you feel when you wake up having gotten plenty of sleep the night before?  In a good mood, bouncy and energetic, ready to tackle your day?

Did you know that a good night's sleep can improve your memory and make you smarter? When you sleep your brain is sorting memories and the knowledge and skills you work at during the day get processed at night.

The benefits of a good night's sleep on our mind and body cannot be emphasized enough. Yet, there are many diseases, and common illnesses that could be minimized or improved if we only got enough quality sleep.

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Sleep Deprivation and Its Effects

1 | Your immune system becomes hampered. This not only means you can take longer to recover from an illness, but it raises the risk of increased chronic illness. So don't let yourself get run down. Get into the habit of getting the rest you need to keep your immune system in tip-top shape. That, in turn, improves your ability to fend off colds, the flu, and other infections.

2 | Poor sleep quality increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Sleeping helps heart vessels to heal and affects processes that maintain blood pressure and sugar levels. Skip the sleep you need and it can lead to a surge in stress hormones. Your heart works harder and doesn't get the rest it needs. Getting plenty of sleep fosters a state of relaxation that helps to reduce blood pressure.

3 | Sleep deprivation also increases the risk of respiratory diseases. A nighttime disorder can interrupt your sleep lowering the quality of that sleep. As you wake up through the night these experiences cause sleep deprivation. This leaves you more vulnerable to respiratory infections and can worsen existing respiratory diseases.

4 | Lack of sleep can affect weight. Hormones that control feelings of hunger or fullness are affected by sleep. When you sleep less you eat more and have more difficulty burning the calories. "Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat of their weight loss than those who were sleep deprived, who lost more muscle mass. (They shed similar amounts of total weight regardless of sleep.)"

From <http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20459221,00.html#have-a-healthy-weight-0>

5 | Sleep deprivation causes the release of insulin. Which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes by affecting how your body produces glucose. What happens, with ongoing sleep loss, less insulin is released after you eat. But, your body secretes more stress hormones, which while helping you to stay awake makes it more difficult for the insulin to do its job.

6 | Lack of sleep is a factor in stress headaches. If you get stress headaches or migraines getting plenty of sleep will help to keep them away. Sleep deprivation plays an indirect role in making your head hurt. Stress and anxiety can bring on a headache even if you are properly rested. Keep in mind that too much sleep can also cause headaches.

7 | Insufficient sleep can affect hormone production, testosterone levels, and sperm count in men. It can wreak havoc with your emotions, making both of you too tired, or just plain uninterested. Good quality sleep keeps testosterone levels high. Cheat yourself out of sleep, and you cheat yourself out of great sex.

For further reading check out this article Health Benefits of Sleep.

7 Quick Tips to Sleep Better

  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Avoid caffeine after 5 pm
  • Don't eat late in the evening
  • Exercise during the day
  • Optimize your bedroom (light, noise, temperature)
  • Take a relaxing bath or shower
  • Try to sleep and wake at consistent times

Sleep is just one part of improving and maintaining good over-all health. Nutrition and exercise are also pivotal. I think of these 3 things as the most basic self-care habits. Yet of the three, sleep can be the easiest to do. It takes little thought or pre-planning in most cases, unlike menu planning or an exercise schedule. So take any Mom's advice, and get to bed at a decent time. You'll thank yourself the next morning.

I know a good night's sleep leaves me feeling refreshed, and on top of the world. But the best part is that my day just seems smoother and any problems that arise are easier to manage. So let me know in the comments how you feel after a good night's rest or let me know if any of this is helpful to you.