Do you ever feel the pressure to attend every party you’re invited to, or go out every time someone plans impromptu dinner and drinks? If you’re silently nodding your head “yes,” you’re definitely not alone. FOMO — the fear of missing out — is real. Especially in the age of social media.
But caving into this fear can leave you feeling exhausted, financially drained, and ultimately resentful toward yourself and your loved ones. Paying attention to what you really want to do is an action of self-care. There’s no reason to feel guilty for staying in and vegging out. But how do you maintain balance, so you’re not totally neglecting your relationships and self-care?
This has been a focus of mine for quite some time. Here’s what I’ve learned about prioritizing your wellness in social situations.
How do you know when to say yes or no to an invite?
First things first. You need to listen to your gut feeling about whether you should go out or not.
I’m sure you’ve had an invitation to something that sounded exactly like the type of thing you’d love to attend. There was no hesitation. Sometimes even during busy times, you might want to say yes because you know it’s the kind of event that’ll take your mind off of things.
But then there are the types of invitations when you feel obligated to go, even though you really don’t want to.
I was invited to a party where I knew I’d be the youngest person there. While I love my elders, I know from past experience that I’d end up sitting in a corner by myself while everybody else talked about things that I couldn’t relate to. So, I opted out — simple as that.
And what about the events you’re not sure about? They could be fun, but you’re not sure. This is when FOMO really tends to kick in.
In cases like this, I like to take advice from Greg McKeown, author of “Essentialism.” McKeown says that an easy way to make good decisions is to follow this principle:
“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”
If you’re hesitating for any reason about attending the party, maybe it’s best to listen to what that hesitation is telling you.
And if you’re still going back and forth on your RSVP, here are some questions to ask yourself before saying yes or no:
- Is this party with people who uplift or drain me?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how excited am I about attending this party?
- If I attend this party, will I still have time throughout the week for self-care?
The key is to take a few moments and reflect on what’s driving your decision. Accepting an invitation to go out may not seem like a rash decision, but if you’re letting FOMO or peer pressure make up your mind, it’s likely you’ll regret it later.
Above all else, you need to ask yourself whether this invite will allow you to make time for self-care in your schedule. Your emotional, mental, and physical well-being deserve your attention all year, not just during downtime.
If your week looks like it revolves around other people with no breaks in between for “me time,” you need to make some changes. Prioritize your self-care time by adding it to your calendar. Schedule times throughout the week to relax and recuperate. This will help you stay accountable to yourself.
By setting clear boundaries for your time and energy, you’ll know whether you should really say yes or no to that party invite.
How to tell someone no
Let’s say you’ve decided to RSVP no. You’re nervous about telling the host or your friend because you feel guilty for not attending. It’s so easy to feel this way.
We experience so much guilt about prioritizing our needs over others because we worry that people will think we’re selfish. Let’s just remember that there’s nothing selfish about taking care of yourself. Being the best version of you allows you to be at your best for everyone else. What’s more, you’ll be more excited about the events you do attend because you’re being so selective with your time.
When you’ve set clear boundaries for your time and energy, be firm about them. Say thanks for the invite, and leave it at that. Remember that you don’t owe anybody an explanation about why you’ve said no. It’s really nobody’s business but your own.
It’s so easy to prioritize everyone in a day when it’s possible to be in a million places at once. But if you need to unplug, remember that you can do that! Starting with social events is a great place to begin.
Say yes to that party invite when it feels right, when it excites you, and when you’ll still have time in your week for some self-care practices. Say no when it feels like a chore, when you feel overwhelmed, and when you feel uncertain about saying yes. And if you find yourself at a party and suddenly realize you’re in over your head, remember that you can always leave early. That’s what self-care is all about.
Catherine Beard is an intentional living blogger, mindset coach, and the creator of The Blissful Mind, an online guide to help you find calm in your daily life. She believes that joy is comprised of the little moments in our everyday lives, and it’s up to us to acknowledge and appreciate them. You’ll most likely find her reading self-development books, eating breakfast foods for dinner, and laughing at anything and everything. Follow her on Instagram.