Saying No

When you have Parkinson’s, you need to learn that self-care is a necessity rather than a luxury; this involves more than getting your nails done or buying yourself some flowers; it is about knowing what your body requires and then delivering on it. You need to carve out some sacred ‘me-time’ every day, set some boundaries, and make your health your top priority. Fatigue, anxiety, and a flare-up in your symptoms are all signs that your needs are not being met.

As I write this blog, it is Autumn; a season that teaches us that change and letting go are necessary. Trees know when it is time to let go of their leaves, and we too need to release those parts of our lives that no longer serve us. As we watch the leaves flutter to the ground, we are reminded how beautiful and necessary it can be to let some things go.

So, why is it so difficult to step off the merry-go-round, turn down invitations or say no to extra tasks? Why do we so often say ‘Yes’ when we are really screaming out ‘No’? Very often we are people-pleasers who are afraid of appearing lazy or selfish, and we try to do more than is possible in terms of our homes, families, friends, jobs, fitness, and socialising. We say ‘Yes’ to extra tasks at work, commit to attend events that we are too exhausted to go to, and do things that we don’t want to do out of guilt. The result is that we are frazzled, exhausted, overwhelmed, and are creating serious health problems for ourselves.

The reality is that it is not good to be on the go all the time; our bodies and brains need time to recharge and rest. There is nothing wrong with just retreating from life to ‘just be’. Why are we all so afraid of an ordinary life anyway?

It’s time to prioritise the tasks that we must do and those that we want to do. My priorities are sleep, rest, cooking healthy meals, exercising, and eliminating as much stress from my life as possible; doing this then allows me to be at my best for my partner, family, and close friends who are next on my priority list.

You are not the helpless owner of your life; it’s time to make some changes and set some boundaries. So before saying ‘Yes’, ask yourself: Do I have the time? Do I want to do this? Will this add to my life or drain it? We should be kind to others but also to ourselves, you can say ‘No’ when your motivation is self-care.

Your true friends and colleagues will understand that you are not rejecting them, and that you are not being unkind or lazy. So, kindly say, ‘I’ll get back to you’, ‘I will look at my diary’, ‘I will think about it’, or ‘I am tired and need to recharge’. You are only human and should not be ashamed of not being able to do everything asked of you; sometimes we just need to retreat from life for a while.

You will never again get this day or this time back, do you really want to be looking back on your life with regrets? I imagine that most of us will regret working so much, not spending enough time with those we love, and doing things out of guilt. Very few of us will be regretting the time that we gave to ourselves and our passions. Live a life that you enjoy, don’t spend another day of it unlived, and simply say ‘No’…

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