Spotlight on Chika - Saying "No" and Prioritizing Yourself
Discussions about recent posts with my roommates sparked the idea of spotlighting other people and their messages on wellness. This first one will be my lovely roommate, Chika Ekemezie.
A little about Chika..
Chika is a student at American University majoring in interdisciplinary studies with communications, law, economics, and government. She's minoring in women and gender studies, and her main interests span social justice with race and gender and the American Constitution. Her favorite Supreme Court Justice is Harry Blackman, and her idol is Wonder Woman. She is a first generation Nigerian-American born and raised in New Jersey.
Her wellness message:
You are you're most important person. Don't expect anyone to take care of you before you do.
What did you mean by that statement?
"As women, we have this complex that requires us to take care of and please everyone around us. However, if you're not okay in the first place, you can't help others. I see this happening a lot with women taking on more than they can handle and saying 'yes' to too many things."
How does this affect women's health?
"Women overextending themselves connects directly to stress. Stress comes from the failure to deliver as well as the absence of satisfaction after agreeing to things we really didn't want to do in the first place. This stress also allows health and wellness - specifically mental health - to move to the back burner."
How do you deal with this in your life?
"We have a poster in the apartment that says 'I will not do anything until I feel the need.' I actively choose to say 'no' first. I might say 'no' to too many things actually. I say 'no' before I say 'yes' to give myself time to consider new commitments without seeming unreliable. I can always come back to it, but it's important to reflect before taking on a new role."
What advice would you give to other women to help them prioritize themselves?
Start slow. Start by being conscious about the choices you're making. Pause when someone asks you to do something and contemplate a few things. Ask yourself questions like: do I have time for this? Do I want to do it or would it add to my life in a way that's important to me? Even reflect on invitations to social events or things that are typically fun. Question whether or not you would enjoy it. Fun isn't the same for everyone. In the end, you are the only person who can make the right decisions for yourself and especially with your time. The pressure is really high on women and the tendency to overextend ourselves can impact our health as well.
For more from Chika, you can follow her on Twitter @ChikaEkemezie.