Mental Health Monday–Know your “No”

Last Friday, I gave a presentation to approximately 200 third year medical students on how to communicate with patients about the health risks of using alcohol tobacco, and drugs. (I abhor am uncomfortable with public speaking. Even though I can do it well, it’s something I don’t necessarily enjoy. Anyway, that’s another story, LOL!)

Part of the presentation included strategies on how to reduce risk. One of the strategies was, as the title of this post hints, “Know your ‘No’.”

As I reflected on that strategy, I realized it has more far reaching implications than in the realm of substance use.

Think about it. How many times have you felt stretched too thin or overwhelmed with too many obligations?

I know I have.

Why does this happen?

For me, having trouble with “knowing my ‘no'” plays a role.

Sure, if there’s no question about being unable to do something, I can say no. But if I’m interested in doing something or I feel some sort of obligation, it’s harder to say no. Now, I can sustain a busy schedule for quite a while. But what happens when I run out of gas?

For me, everything seems more difficult. I lose energy. I lose the desire to keep up. I retreat to accomplishing the bare minimum.

Then I beat myself up for not getting enough done.

Vicious cycle, right?

So, how can one avoid this spiral?

Consider the following:

  • Take breaks
  • Variety is the spice of life, so make sure to try something new once in a while
  • Hang out with friends
  • Go see a movie–heck, you may even find some inspiration
  • Treat yourself well–even if it’s taking a bubble bath or going for a walk
  • Reassess your goals–is the timeline you’ve developed a little too rigid or difficult to manage? Guess what? It CAN be changed
  • Eat chocolate (This one is my favorite)

AND (drum roll please)…


Do you konw your “no”? What instances have you felt overwhelmed and what was your strategy to get, um, “whelmed”?

Check out Lydia’s Medical Monday post and Sarah’s psychologically related post!

Remember these posts are for writing purposes only and are NOT meant to be construed as medical advice or treatment.