It is not always easy to say no.
Our day-to-day lives are filled with obligations—and obligations by their very nature are not optional. Then on top of those things we are obliged to do there are a significant number of things people would like us to do.
Maybe the boss would like you to work through the weekend to speed up a project. Maybe your faith community would like you to take charge of an outreach activity. Maybe a local organization would like you to serve on their board of directors. Maybe a friend would like you to dog sit or to help them move or to co-host a party for a large group of people.
In each of those cases—and many more like them—your first impulse might be to say yes. And often that is a great thing to do. After all, saying yes means you are helping others, and helping others is a great way to support your own mental health. So if an opportunity to help pops up, there are excellent reasons to step up and get involved.
But what if we are not talking about one or two opportunities? What if we are talking about a whole range of requests, all coming in at the same time and each requiring time and energy? Suddenly, saying yes is not necessarily the best move for your mental health.
In fact, sometimes the best way to support your ongoing mental well-being is to say no.
When Saying No is the Way to Go
Taking on too many projects or trying to jam too much into a packed schedule leads to increased levels of stress and might lead to feelings of burnout. High stress levels and the feelings of lethargy that can accompany burnout can have a negative impact on your mental health.
That is why it is essential to be honest with yourself when you are reaching the limits of what you can take on. When you feel stressed or burned out, stop saying yes to every request that comes your way. Instead, politely decline for the time being—while perhaps letting the requester know that you would be open to helping in the future when you have more time and energy available.
Saying No and Letting it Go
One of the big challenges of saying no when someone asks us to do something is that it often makes us feel guilty to turn people down. If they didn’t really need the help, they wouldn’t have asked, right? And shouldn’t you help when you are able to help?
Feeling a desire to help whenever you can is admirable, of course. But it is important to remember that setting boundaries protects your mental health—and good mental health means it is more likely you will be able to help in the future when you are not carrying such a heavy load.
Some people will not take kindly to your decision to say no to them. But that is okay. Protecting your mental health by not taking on too much is more than just your prerogative. It is a smart move that will serve you—and others—well in the long run. So don’t let someone make you feel guilty for setting boundaries.
Long and short: It is no good to say no and then stew over that decision. When you decide that the best move for you right now is to establish and stick to some boundaries, you should say no with confidence (and compassion, of course) and then resist the urge to second-guess yourself into feeling guilty.
Don’t Say No to Getting Mental Health Treatment
If you are struggling with a mental health disorder, it is important to get help from mental health professionals who blend compassion and expertise to provide personalized care. You will find those sorts of professionals at Peak View Behavioral Health in Colorado Springs.
Whether you are dealing with trauma, depression, anxiety, or another mental health challenge, we can help you improve your mental well-being—and then maintain that improved well-being over time. Better mental health is achievable, and it can make a big difference in your quality of life. Say yes to Peak View Behavioral Health.