Why Saying NO Is The Ultimate Form Of Self-Care

TriciaHuffmanI can not even remember how many years now that I have heard to “Be a YES”.  It is a great message, but it can be deceiving.  I started to believe that saying no was a sin.  I can’t say no, I am supposed to be a yes.  Being a yes, is positive.  So, being a no, has to be negative, doesn’t it?  And, I sure as hell, don’t want to be negative…I mean I am a freaking JOYOLOGIST!  I can not be negative, I can not be a NO!

So, I was a YES and I was freaking killing myself.  I was overcommitting.  I was overextending.  I was putting myself in places that I didn’t want to be.  I was losing sleep.  I was losing my sense of self.  I was losing my passion.  I didn’t even know why I was saying  yes anymore.  I got burned the F out.

I had to learn to start saying NO.  It was challenging at first, but then like all things, with practice it became easy.  I held strong to my mantra of “being a NO to them, is being a YES to me.”  I regained my sense of self.  I regained my passion, my mission, and my time.  Life was good.

Until, I started to get busier in my professional life and my personal life.  Suddenly, I was living life large, traveling the world again taking care of a Grammy Award winning artist, keeping him healthy in body and mind, grounded, inspired, and integrity with himself while promoting his newest album.   Sound like a big role?  Yes, it is.  If I am in charge of maintaining someone else’s well being while crossing into new time zones daily, that means that my own mental and physical health has to be spot on.  Which is why I also love spreading another one of my favorite mantras “You have to take care of you, to take of them.”

Working so closely with someone who is high profile and talented comes with a lot of perks.  I met awesome new friends, reunited  with old friends around the globe, and got invited to super fun events.  Even though I  had toured for 8 years already, we were still visiting cities and countries that I had never been to.  I wanted to explore.  I wanted to say yes to late night drinks after a long day of the best work ever.  I wanted to say yes to exploring a new town.  I wanted to say yes to so many things that felt like once in a lifetime opportunities and I did…. until I crashed.

I officially hit rockstar status when I was admitted for exhaustion.

Yes, it really happens and it happened to me.  I was hooked up to IVs for a full eight hours.  All sorts of blood tests, and exams were ordered.  An acupuncturist, masseuse, and a cupping master were called in to tend to me.   I had to surrender my phone to the nurses  was put under direct orders to sleep.  I would not be able to leave without the prescribed shut eye.   I was not allowed to leave and I was not allowed to drive myself home after.

I had been pushing myself for months, living an awesome life around the world.   I was saying YES to every opportunity that came my way.  I know, poor me, but I was actually working really hard, with incredibly long hours and very little sleep supporting an awesome human, and artist.   It is a stress filled life.  My body had been taking a hit, and I had been feeling the signals, but ignoring them.  Even with all of the green smoothies, super tonics, yoga, and massages I was surviving on, I was more burnt out then ever.  I was loving my life.  I was living my life.  And I was killing myself by saying YES.

What had happened is that I had turned into a master on saying NO to things that didn’t vibe with me, that didn’t excite me, that didn’t work with my schedule, but when life kept showing up with loads and loads of awesomeness for me, I was being a YES.

I now had to learn to say NO to things that sounded awesome to me.  I had to learn to say NO to things that I really wanted to do.  I had to learn be an even bigger YES to myself.  Which meant saying NO, a lot, lot, lot, lot more.

The first step to my recovery was to say NO to a truly once in a lifetime opportunity.  The whole reason I had gone to my doctor in the first place was to get cleared to go on a 10 day trip to Antarctica with my client who was invited by Al Gore to be a part of a special trip.   Everyone who was to board the ship needed to have signed paperwork saying they were of health.  My doctor was willing to sign the papers, after admitting me, but he warned me against it.  It was one of the hardest choices I have had to make.  I said NO to a trip of a lifetime to Antarctica because I knew that it was more important for me and for my client for me to lay in my own bed for 10 days and get back to my full health.

That was in January of 2012, I spent the rest of that year going non-stop on his full album cycle of press dates,  tour dates, and events.  I spent the rest of that year, saying NO to things that would take away from my treasured and necessary rest and self care.  In almost every city I had friends that came to shows, and I would say a quick hello after the show, finish packing up and head straight to my bunk for bed.  It seems crazy, but even giving out 30 minutes of my time to reconnect at the end of the day was too much.  I really wanted to savor every new city, every old friend, every opportunity that came my way but I had already discovered first hand that by doing that I was putting my health at risk and also knew I wasn’t going to be able to be fully present with them anyways.

Lately, I have been witnessing so many people that I love and that I look up to gaining more and more success in their businesses. I am so over the moon, happy for them, proud of them but this is also what has moved me to share my story of achieving true rock star status.  You must, you must, you must, make time for you.  You must, you must, allow yourself to rest.  You must, you must, you must allow yourself to have days when you lounge on the couch or in bed all freaking day long, without any guilt!  You don’t need to lie about it, you don’t need to feel like a slacker.  You need to take care of you and in doing so, you will inspire others to do the same.

You need to take care of you, to truly be you. (Tweet-worthy!)  You need to care of you, to truly make a difference.  You need to take care of you, to take care of them.  So whether you are a mother, a health coach, a yoga teacher, a corporate lawyer, an artist, or an entrepreneur learn to say NO.  Learn that saying NO can be the ultimate self care.

What can you say NO to today?  Remember being a No to them, is being a Yes to you.

Love,

Tricia

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Tricia, Your Joyologist,  is a student of life and a teacher of living.   She works with everyone from Grammy Award winning artists to stay at home moms to cultivate a greater self-love and to keep them in integrity with who they want to be in the world and for themselves.  She is also a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Yoga Allicance Certified yoga instructor. Connect with Tricia on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

  • Talya Price

    I have become a NO person. I had to start doing what was best for me. And I haven’t been happier. I had to stop chasing money, and stop listening to the negative talk in my head. And start loving myself.

    • Tricia aka Your Joyologist

      yay! @talyaprice:disqus so happy to hear that! It can be challenging at first, but it is so freaking rewarding!

  • You KNOW I feel you on this. 🙂 Rock on, sister! Thank you!!!!

    • Tricia aka Your Joyologist

      xoxoxo. Love you @jennysansouci:disqus and thank you for taking the time to read it and for taking the time to rest!!!!!

  • natalia

    Great post Tricia! You and your grammy-award-winning artist have definitely changed my way of thinking. As for being a saying-yes-to-everyone-all-the-time person, I’m shocking myself as I am becoming confident to say no..but still have a long path to walk! When I was 5 I didnt say “no” one day and that experience carved a big wound on my selfconfidence. 30 years later I still fight those memories which made me take bad decissions cause I grew up scared..but my wish to help other girls brings a smile. And I have the chance. I thank God or life or whatever that put us here… please don’t stop writing, posting and boosting us!
    Lots of love,
    Natalia

    • Tricia aka Your Joyologist

      Thanks Natalia! And I am happy to hear that you are becoming confident in saying no. Keep on healing and growing and living! xo

  • Should have said yes

    I said no to a grammy award winning artist once and him and his friends made my life hell. I lost my husband, my son, my grandfather, my friends and the rest of my family because of it. I wish I would have said yes because I could have just let him and his friends fuck me and been done with all of it. But I love myself too much to do something like that and I love myself far too much to continue with the daily torture. I was never a hateful person until this happened and now I am filled with hatred. It is foreign to me and I don’t like it. The only way out is to kill myself before it consumes me. Biggest mistake of my life was attending that show.

  • Such an important point! We hear a lot about “Saying NO” to things that drain us, but not a lot about saying NO to things that we think are awesome…but that is a very necessary step too! To say NO to some of the big opportunities and the awesomeness, because our HEALTH is more important! 🙂 Thanks for sharing your input! I am looking forward to reaching your level of success someday and this is great advice for when I get there! 🙂

    • Tricia aka Your Joyologist

      Glad you liked it Niloo! No matter what level of “success” you have it is necessary to allow yourself to relax and have days just to take care of you. No matter what your job is I know so many people that have guilt for being “lazy” and laying around all day. But the guilt is what is bad for us, not the lounging!

  • Liesel

    Lovely, lovely post! I resonate with so much of this. I wrote a whole book about your topic – it’s so important and so many (especially women) have a hard time saying the “no” word. Great article, thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Tricia aka Your Joyologist

      You wrote a book about it?! Awesome! Glad you are preaching the virtue of no’s too. xo

      • The book I wrote through all my mistakes, and starting to feel totally resentful, exhausted and overwhelmed all the time! Yes, it’s so important to be able to say “no” without the guilt. Taking care of ourselves is freakin important. No-one is going to do it for us. If not us, then who??

  • So true, Tricia. Saying no to always feeling obligated to say yes is the most liberating and self-loving act of all.