Learn to Say ‘No’ and Put Yourself First

BY: ASHLEY JOHNSON

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This year, I have made one resolution: put myself first more often. Sometimes self-love is easier said than done. I would love to get a biweekly mani/pedi or read more books but finding the time to do these things can be hard when you have commitments to your loved ones and your job. This last year, I found myself more stressed than I had ever been before due to the fact that I wasn’t taking enough time to decompress and enjoy my time off. We’re almost a month into the new year and although it’s been difficult to change my ways, I’m learning to take more time to gather my thoughts and do the things I love.

For me, self-love means doing the things that bring me joy. Reading a new book, indulging in a fancy face mask, going to the gym or taking a much-needed nap are some of my favorite pastimes, and I’ve been so happy to get back to these things in the past month. I’m starting to accept that missing out on a night of going out or an afternoon of shopping is OK if it means I am calm—body and mind.

Learn to say ‘no.’ Ever feel overwhelmed by your obligations? Take a step back and truly evaluate what is a priority in your life. Because when you get caught up in your everyday life and routine, it’s important you stop and make sure you’re taking care of your own needs. Don’t be afraid to do something for yourself and politely turn down an invitation. Sometimes a quiet hour to yourself is all you need to turn your week around.

Invest in your well-being. For me, it’s investing in a nice shampoo that makes my damaged ends hydrated and soft or my favorite purifying mask from Tata Harper. Between paying bills and saving your money, it can be hard to justify spending top dollar on something as simple as hair product, but investing in your own happiness is worth it, every time.

Make time for the things that grow you. Now that you have your priorities in check and your skin and hair are well moisturized, think back on the things you should be setting aside more time for. Not everything can come easily when you’re busy working and trying to figure out what you want to do with your future. For me, it’s being in a long-term, long-distance relationship—it’s not easy, at all. At the end of the day, it’s easy to fall into bed and not want to make any further contact with the world, but I have found staying up just a bit longer and making meaningful conversation with the man I love is worth it. It’s not always easy but it is something I owe to myself and our relationship and it’s something I know I can do to make my future brighter now.

So take my lead and invest in YOU this year. Self-love comes in many shapes and sizes and no matter what yours looks like, I dare you to make it a bigger priority in your life in 2019. When you’re happy with yourself, you’ll find you’re more positive about your present and future self. Take the time, invest in your own happiness, and set aside time for the things and people who continuously grow you and make you better.


Ashley Johnson is the managing editor of She Reads by day and an aspiring novelist by night. Blogging her way through college, Ashley graduated Northern Arizona University with a degree in English in 2017. When she’s not catching up on the best new reads from her favorite publishers, she can be found taking naps with her four loyal chihuahuas and claiming her rightful title of “VIB Rouge” at Sephora.