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4 Ways to Say No When You Need Rest

Updated: Mar 1

Do you feel like you're always saying "yes" when you really need to say "no"? If so, you're definitely not alone. It can be hard to put your needs first, especially when it seems everyone is counting on you.

But if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to care for anyone else. Here are four ways to say no when you need rest.

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Why rest is important for fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome

When you live with fibromyalgia, one of the most significant challenges you have to learn is how to pace yourself and rest when needed.

Learning to set boundaries with others' obligations or requests to help us prevent exacerbating our symptoms can be incredibly difficult.

If you agree to everything, saying no sometimes can be the best thing to learn to do. It can be merely saying no to going to lunch with friends at work because you need that time to yourself to recharge or saying no to something bigger that someone has asked of you that you know will drain your energy.

If you're the person who always thinks of ways to please others, it can sometimes be tough to hold space for yourself. But, for so many people, saying no feels like a confrontation, and it merely makes them feel very uneasy and often comes paired with a feeling of guilt.

If this is a problem for you as well, then it's time to explore polite ways to turn people down so you can avoid these negative emotions and prioritize your health and get the rest you need.

How to create boundaries when you have a chronic illness

First, let's face the most challenging task; you should say no when it's essential to say no. If you are tired, in pain, need rest, and need time to yourself, it's important to honor how you feel and prioritize your needs. In doing so, you may avoid a fibro flare or recover faster from a flare-up.

Allowing people close to you to pressure you into a situation where your fibromyalgia symptoms may worsen because of who they are is never good. Every move you make with another person sets a precedent.

If you set proper boundaries now, then, later on, you can be more confident that you will be able to measure their level of urgency for assistance.


A suitable way to bow out of a request is to let them know that you will consider it if your schedule allows it. It will give you the ability to say a soft no but still can change your mind later. That means that you now have control over whether or not they are likely to ask that sort of request again in the future without making it complicated.

If you know it's a hard no, then you can contact them and let them know that you won't be able to when the request is less fresh.


If you feel like you aren’t a good enough friend to someone that wants more of your time or energy than you can deliver, you may experience feeling guilty.

When you know you need to say no but feel guilty, try to fill your time with the things you need to get done in your life, home, fibromyalgia treatments, and self-care.

Devote time to ensure that you are moving forward in treating your fibromyalgia symptoms and ticking practices to try off your list. It can help also lower your stress level as you gain better control over your chronic illness symptoms.

How to prioritise yourself when living with fibromyalgia

If you feel comfortable, try to find another person to take the request instead. It can be beneficial for proposals related to your business and skilled work.

If someone wants you to do a job for free or at a reduced price, refer them to another capable person. This lets your friend know that they can get skilled work elsewhere and gives them a chance to see the value of your time and expertise.

How to Reduce Stress Every Day

In your personal life, an example might look like gently explaining to a friend or relative that you don't have the energy resources needed to help organize a function, host a dinner, and suggest a mutual friend or another family member.

If this is still too challenging for you, consider offering to do one particular task for the event, something you know you can accomplish without too much detriment to your energy or pain levels.

Be honest about your limitations so that others can set their expectations accordingly. If someone doesn't understand or respect your limits, you may need to utilize the first tip and say no.

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