When we find it difficult to say ‘no’ at work or at home, our responsibilities can quickly become overwhelming. For good mental health, focusing on our own needs and capabilities is crucial
No. A tiny, yet mighty word. To hear it can make us feel childlike; sheepish or in trouble. How does it make you feel to say “no”? Strong? Nervous? Guilty? Do you say it often enough?
In July, when the gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from most of her Olympics appearances, citing emotional exhaustion that was affecting her ability to perform, her “no” was a thunderbolt. Reactions were largely supportive, but opinions were divided along political lines in the US. White, male sports pundits (and, predictable as the arrow of time, Piers Morgan) used the word “selfish”. It was a similar story when the tennis player Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open in May, speaking of “long bouts of depression” and “huge waves of anxiety” before her pre- and post-match press conferences.