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Why Saying “No” Is Important For Self-Care

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MCLA chapter.

Self-care is often described as doing a face-mask while watching your favorite TV show in super comfy, soft pajamas or sweat pants while eating your absolute favorite food. This is indeed self-care. Taking that time in the day to do what you need to do and what you want to do is important, but so is making the time for it. This is why it is important to say “no” once in a while. Saying “no” is a huge part of self-care. 

Let’s imagine you’ve had a really long day, you’re tired and just want to head back to your room for the night. You have a test tomorrow and want to get in some last minute studying before calling it a day. You’re leaving the main campus center when your friends spot you. You stop to chat with them and they ask if you want to watch a movie tonight. You know if you watch the movie with them, you won’t be done studying until late, won’t get enough sleep  and you’ll be a zombie during the test tomorrow. The answer seems simple, you say no, you don’t have time.

Studying for a test is an easy excuse to say no and just have some “me time” after, but what about when you have nothing planned, nothing to study for, homework is done and you just want to relax? It gets a little harder to justify saying “no” to watching the movie with your friends. If watching the movie with your friends is “me time” and you find that relaxing, go for it. Have fun and chill out with your friends. But if your idea of “me time” literally is time for you and you alone, then it is okay to say no. Personally, I flip between the two.

What you define as “me time” can change on a daily basis. Sometimes, you’re down for the movie. You want the greasy pizza, loud obnoxious laughs and ridiculous jokes. Other days, you want to sit in your room and read a book while lying in bed wearing the most comfy and soft clothes you have. Either type of “me time” is okay. What’s important is making time for them.

Making time for “me time” can be saying no to watching a movie with friends or it can be saying  no to joining a club or taking an extra class. It’s important to plan out your schedule and balance it right. Sometimes “me time” is only an hour, sometimes it’s an entire day to yourself, but make sure you get some time for yourself.

Saying no is part of self-care because it can help create the time and space you need for self-care. It can also protect from situations you see as anything but self-care. Okay, another scenario for you: you’re walking to class anxious and stressed about homework and you just need a break. The last thing you need is to be surrounded by people. Your friend sees and you stops you to ask if you want to go to a campus event or a party that night. You know the worst thing with how you are feeling that day would be to say yes and go to the event. Sure, you would be with friends, but crowds are not what you need right now, you’re already anxious and want to be alone. So you say no and decide not to go. This time, saying no calmed you down and provided self-care right there by relieving some pressure. 

Saying no can be hard is a skill to learn, but it is a necessary skill. It can create “me time” and set boundaries. Both of these are important. Saying no is self care for the simple fact that it helps create self-care. Self-care doesn’t have to be about wearing face and lighting candles. Sometimes self-care is making sure you have enough time in a day to get down what you need to get done. 

Going back to studying for a test you have tomorrow. Well, you may not be tired and drained from the day, but you also know going to watch a movie with your friends tonight also means you won’t get any studying or homework done for tomorrow. Part of self-care is also weighing what’s important to you. This is where saying no can help. Saying no can also help you define what self care is for you. Believe me, everyone will have a different definition of what self-care is for them. 

Saying no can help you define what your kind of self care is. Is it watching a movie with friends or studying for the test? Is it doing a face mask with candles or is it going to that event? Maybe self-care is once a week having those mozzarella sticks you crave and not leaving your house. Whatever it is, saying no is important to figuring out your self care routine and keeping it. 

Saying no allows you to set boundaries and prioritize your time. It allows you to schedule “me time” and define what “me time” is for you. It’s not always easy, but it is necessary sometimes to say no, sometimes to things you enjoy. If your friends are planning to watch your favorite movies and order your favorite pizza, and you’re just not up for it, it’s hard to say no, but it’s still okay to say. It’s hard to learn to say no, I’m still learning how to say no. But, if you don’t ever say no, you run the risk of burning out. So let’s all do ourselves a favor, a keep learning how to say no. That way, when we do indulge ourselves in self-care like a face-mask while watching your favorite T.V. show in super comfy, super soft pajamas or sweat pants while eating your absolute favorite food, it will be all the more enjoyable.

Amanda is a junior at MCLA. An English major and dance minor, she is very creative. She loves spending time with her friends and family. Her favorite things to do are dance, write and be out in nature.