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Self-Care is not Selfish. How to Say No at Parties and Events.

Updated: Apr 6

self care say no

The scenario... you are at the party / work engagement / social event and you need to stick to your health, your self-care, commitments. The time has come to make your excuses so to avoid that late night, the drinks, the unhealthy foods and temptations. Just remember, self-care is not selfish, it's time to learn to say no.

Some people find it easy to say no to friends, colleagues or temptation. For others it is a real struggle, especially at work or social occasions. Changing norms within the group, going against the grain, can create resistance. And if you are trying to change your own health and lifestyle, especially when starting on a health journey, learning to say no and changing ingrained habits can be doubly hard.


For those who find it difficult, how does one graciously bow out of an event without losing face? Here are a few tried and tested excuses or, good reasons!

  • Work Commitments. The classic excuse from London to New York to Singapore. You can mention that you have (1) an upcoming call or (2) an early meeting or work-related responsibilities the next day.

  • Exercise Commitments. As above, you need a good night’s sleep to meet that sincere commitment for a morning run or strength workout, with someone else who is keeping you accountable.

  • Commitment to Self-Care. State that you are having a one month health focus and that you are prioritising self-care. Of course, you might have to be seen making good on this later!

Sometimes the people that try to convince you to "just have one" or "stay longer" feel threatened by your change in habits, perhaps even that you might be judging their own lifestyle.
  • Feeling Under the Weather. Claim that you're not feeling well, that it's best to head home so you don't spread any germs or get worse.

  • Prior Engagement. Explain that you already had plans or commitments made before the event was planned, and that you need to honour them.

  • Family Obligations. A great excuse for a Friday or Saturday night. Talk about family responsibilities or perhaps a family event the next day that requires your attention.

  • Feeling Tired. Say that you're feeling tired and need to get some rest!

  • Learn to say No. If you know that you might have to leave, turn down the invitation, or, state upfront that you will have to leave early.


No matter what you say, you will likely feel the pressure or be pressured to carrying on as before. Just stick to your guns and focus on your goal and values. Politely saying no can be hard, but it might not be as hard as you think.

Stay Healthy,



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Related Studies

Maria L Cagigas, Stephen M Twigg, Luigi Fontana, Ten tips for promoting cardiometabolic health and slowing cardiovascular aging, European Heart Journal, Volume 45, Issue 13, 1 April 2024, Pages 1094–1097,


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