BOISE, Idaho — Being the person who always pitches in to help someone else out is an admirable and selfless trait, but saying “yes” too much can get in the way of your health.
Angie Radford, a licensed clinical social worker with Optum Idaho, said it's important to know if you're agreeing to things too often.
“If you find it difficult to turn someone down who’s asking you for a favor, even though you know that your own schedule is out of control, you may want to think about saying no more often,” she said.
Radford said it is important to take care of your own needs and prioritize spending time on yourself, or with friends and family, even if it means turning down a request.
"By overextending yourself, that can lead to things like stress and anxiety and this can actually take a toll on your physical health as well,” she said.
For those who feel guilty turning people down, Radford offered suggestions like offering that person an alternative, telling them you will make your decision later and checking your schedule, or taking on a lesser task, or using coworkers or friends to help you make a decision.
"Stay in the loop. I think that especially in the workplace sometimes, we’re fearful that if we say ‘no’, we might not get that opportunity again," she said. "So this answer also keeps that door open for saying yes, but it also doesn’t burn any bridges. So for instance you could say, ‘I’m afraid I can’t help out this time, but this is an area I’m very interested in, so please feel free to check back with me on another date.'”
Radford added that committing to saying no is about taking responsibility for your own time.
"I think the important thing is learning when and what to say no to. And there can be other alternatives to saying no, like we discussed," she said. "But whatever you decide, I would take responsibility for your actions. Remember if you did promise someone an answer at later date, you really need to follow through and meet that deadline.”
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