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  • robinmaydavis

Just say No


"Can you take this project over?” Not long ago I found myself facing this question. Anyone involved on a work committee, a school fundraiser, or group project in school, can probably relate to this kind of a request. I believe in cooperative work, but I also knew that my plate was already full. In the past I had agreed to these sorts of requests, sometimes to my own downfall. I hadn’t left myself the downtime I require to stay healthy and working at my best. This time I paused and I tuned in to myself, becoming aware of my current tipping point for added stress. “No, I can’t help you at this time.” I felt a bit anxious saying it, but then a tightness in my chest released and I knew I had done the right thing for myself.


Typically when we talk about stress management so much of the conversation is about what we are doing once stress hits, lower stress hormones and get back to feeling balanced. Boundary setting is a different sort of skill. Working on boundary setting is about prevention of stress - it is proactive rather than reactive


Working on boundary setting is about prevention of stress - it is proactive rather than reactive.

Whether the boundaries relate to time, activities, personal space or emotions, the limit setting is the same. It is important to tune in to what we need, how we feel, and our own values and then respond to another about our stance. If we fail to tune in to ourselves, the boundaries we set will be misguided and not lined up with our needs. If we fail to communicate our stance, we will often be left feeling resentful or powerless. The idea that others “should just know” leaves a lot of room for disappointment if people don’t just pick up on our needs.


If new to working on this practice, there are a number of web-based resources about what makes flexible, clear boundaries. The next step once understanding the concepts, is assertively learning to talk with a focus on ourselves so others know we are protecting ourselves and do not feel we are controlling them. Once we take time to know ourselves and communicate our needs and limits with others directly, we have just engaged in a powerful act of self care. We’ve helped to protect against burnout, resentment, and inefficiency. I know I will keep on working on saying no at the right times.


images by Free photos and Picography from pixabay

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