feeling overwhelmed

Practicing The Loving "No" - Taking care of yourself before you give to others

The Loving “No," has been a theme lately with both my patients and myself, so I wanted to bring attention to it in the online world. This is such an important topic as it brings in aspects of both mindfulness and creating a good community around us. 

As a society we tend to take on too many responsibilities and activities. What do you have going on this coming weekend? How many tasks do you have on your to do list at work? We then can not think of the last time we did something for ourselves. 

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” 

It can depend on the place in your life you are at. If you are in the beginning stages of a new business, a new family, or taking on a bigger position at work, everything you are learning is big and takes time. Once you’ve settled into your routine, those things seem smaller and less overwhelming. However, whatever stage you are at, taking time for yourself is just as important. This is where practicing the loving “no” comes in.

We are wired to give. We are wired to be of service. We have been taught to put others first, to be the “yes man.” I know with myself, I think to have a great community around me, I need to spend time often with those I love. To give and connect, sometimes even bake, for those I love! You may be capable in theory of giving to others, but saying yes to too much, even if those demands are coming from within, we end up so depleted. We no longer have the ability to fill up our own bucket. 

In order to give, our own bucket needs to be full first. 

Practicing the loving “no” is challenging for a lot of us. If you are a compassionate person, you feel their overwhelm, their sadness, their confusion, and you immediately want to help. You may be a mother, a teacher, a leader in your business…but to give fully to others, we need to take care of ourselves first. 

It is not about what you are saying yes to, but what you are comfortable saying no to. 

It is uncomfortable to say no, especially at the beginning. Creating any type of boundary is challenging. However, if you don’t know how to say no to the things that matter less, than you don’t have time to give to those things that really matter the most. So practice saying no in a kind way. Customize it for each person and situation. Be respectful and firm. The answer is no…and here is why.  

You may even be caught by surprised with the responses you get. Setting an example of creating boundaries, carving out time for yourself, may be what was needed to inspire those around you to do the same. It only takes one person to create a ripple effect. They may mimic your behaviour and support you. So honour projects and commitments you hold dear, but start creating time for yourself to fill your bucket. Whether it be a simple meditation practice in the mornings, a cup of tea, a bath or yoga class after work, or time with your family if that fills you up. Practice the loving “no,” so you are capable of giving fully.

How do you fill your bucket? Let me know below! As always, I am here to help. If you need support because you already feel depleted, don't hesitate to reach out. 

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen