Say NO

Aug 18, 2021

I remember early in my nursing career when I was eager to work. I wanted to learn everything I could. I wanted to be helpful. I wanted the overtime in my paycheck. I said yes, every time they called. I said yes every time there were open shifts. I said yes to the 3 am to 3 pm shifts. I said yes to the 8 shifts in a row. I said yes to the “I’ll go home and sleep for 4 hours and come back for 8 more. I said yes to everything. Until one day my parents were up visiting from their home 7 hours away. I got that same ol’ call to come to work in an hour and I said, “NO. My parents are visiting and I don’t want to miss a minute with them.” The response from my co-worker went something like this, “...but we haven’t even tried to call anyone else because we KNEW you’d say yes.” 


That did it for me. That was the moment I realized that I was being taken advantage of. My time with my family was not a priority for them, it did not matter one bit. All the lost sleep and stress on my body did not matter to them in this one time that I had chosen to say no. They didn’t appreciate my willingness to work extra, they had begun to expect it and would make me feel guilty when I said no. 


That’s when it all started to change. I became more and more comfortable with the word no. I began to say no to the extra shifts. I began to use my vacation time. I began to honor my own priorities: my family, my friends, my sleep, and my wellbeing. Ya know what happened? It snowballed. It became easier to say no to the things I did not want to participate in. It became easier to honor my priorities and goals. With every no, every time I chose my priorities over those of someone else, I got closer to living life as Purely You. 


Every now and again I forget how important it is. I let myself push hard for too long and find myself in that place where NO is a necessity. We (my husband, bonus daughter, fur baby and I) are in the process of moving out to the country. We have spent the last 7 weeks cleaning, painting, repairing, and preparing for the move. It’s been a long process as our new home and the yard was not well-loved but was hard-lived, and in need of some attention. Of course, we are both working full-time too, so this has all been after work or on days off. As I have been striving to stay grounded amongst the transition (hello, grounding meditations!), keep myself organized (thank goodness for Passion Planner and google tasks), and keep all the plates I have in my life balanced, I have found the limit of my mental, emotional, and physical capacity again. So I said NO to the opportunity to be a part of another committee in the community. I said NO to an overtime shift at the hospital. I said NO to planning another fundraising event. These are all things I would be willing to do in other moments of my life, but I recognize that right now is not the time. AND THAT IS OKAY. 


It is okay to say NO. It is okay to honor your priorities first. I hear you struggling to put your priorities first, but I’d bet one of your priorities is likely your family, if you have nothing left to give, what do they get? 


It is okay to protect yourself from feeling burned out and exhausted. It is okay to do the things that set your soul on fire and leave the rest behind. We have glorified “busy” and we wear our exhaustion like a badge of honor. My dear girl, if we are going to ever make lasting change in our lives, we have to stop doing that. We have to recognize when we are reaching our capacity and begin to course-correct so we don’t drive ourselves off the cliff and into the depths of burnout. 


It is not selfish to honor your own commitments and priorities. 


It is not selfish to stop spreading yourself so thin that your family gets the bare minimum from you. 


It is not selfish to push yourself to a place of resentment, anger, frustration, or anxiety. 


Saying no is truly a form of self-care.


If you’re reading this and thinking “but I can’t say no, these people depend on me” then let’s talk.


Let’s identify what situations in your life are truly in your control and what parts of your world would really continue to turn even if you showed up a little differently tomorrow. I cannot wait to watch you change your life. Book your Breakthrough Burnout Call today.


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