In order to raise your voice for others, you have to take care of yourself first. That’s where self care comes in. If you like this tip, be sure to sign up for the Raise Your Voice newsletter to receive your copy of The Revolution Starts with Me! self care zine for more tips and self care resources.

Being comfortable with saying NO is a great to practice self care, but it’s often easier said than done. When we say NO  to someone or to an opportunity, we can feel guilty, and it can also make us feel as though we’re be missing out on something if we say NO.

Singer-songwriter and entrepreneur Christine Kane says, “One of the reasons saying NO can be so challenging to us is that we force ourselves to make decisions in the moment. We wait until we’re put on the spot…we often end up making a Reactive Decision, rather than a Proactive Decision. Reactive Decisions often involve listening to our emotional self, or our guilt, or our old patterns of wanting approval.”

To fix this, Christine developed a great exercise called the Proactive NO.

What is a Proactive NO? Think of it this way: Most businesses have what’s called a policies & procedures manual, listing how the business runs and what employees should do in the event that something happens and a swift decision needs to be made.

Here’s your task: Create your own self care policies & procedures manual. Your manual should be clear and concise, and let’s you know exactly want to do if faced with making a decision. You can write them out on sheets of paper, or type them up. Remember, we want to decrease as many Reactive Decisions as possible. Here are some of my own self care policies:

*I require a least one week’s notice if a friend or relative wants to stay with me while they are in town. (It may sound harsh, but in this way, I can decide if I want to open my space to anyone, as well as to prepare for their arrival).

*I will only consider consulting projects and speaking engagements that are in alignment with the mission of my business. (This one can be a challenge. When the urge to get recognition or to make some quick cash rears its head, I ask myself if what I’m about to sign on to actually matches the values of my consulting business. I also consider the time it would take to prepare and execute the project, especially if my work schedule is already swamped).

Take some time during the upcoming days to develop your own self care policies & procedures manual. You can come up with as many policies as you want, and when you’re faced with making a decision, “run” the request through your polices & procedures manual and come up with a solution that works for you.

RAISE YOUR VOICE: What you think about this week’s exercise? Share insights below in the comments. Do you have a self care resource or exercise you want to share? Contact me to have it featured in an upcoming Self Care Corner post.

Sign Up
If you like this post, subscribe to the Raise Your Voice newsletter to receive resources, advice, and tips to help you raise your voice for women and girls of color.
Sign Up