Updated: Dec 4, 2021

November is typically a transitional month for me. The season is changing, the clock falls back and I quickly miss the sunlight. But my biggest challenge in November is the rush of trying to finish up projects that are due by the end of year. Sounds like a bit of procrastination right? Some of these projects come with self-imposed timelines, but no matter if they come from myself or from others, they all bring on a ton of stress. On November 10, 2017, I was hit from behind while driving on a major highway during rush hour heading to an event. By the grace of God, I managed to not hit anyone in front of me. I took on all the impact of the pickup truck flying behind me and my car was totaled and I spent many years doing some sort of physical even mental therapy to get better. Ever since the car wreck, my body is pretty much a wreck in November. My doctors let me know the physical trauma from the car wreck also left emotional trauma that the body remembers around the same time every year. I’ve noticed that this “emotional trauma” makes for having a difficult November on top of all the additional stress I seem to already carry into and throughout November. Instead of just coping and dealing with the recurring reminder again this year, I opted to start truly healing the emotional trauma in hopes that it will help the physical healing that I continue to work on daily.

I’m sure you’re asking what is the “NO”vember Challenge, yes it’s in the name, but it’s so much more than just saying No, No, No, No, No. The “NO”vember Challenge is a way to refocus the power we give away when we don’t apply “NO” to situations, our own thoughts, reliving trauma, even saying “NO” to people that deserve to be on the receiving end of a that “NO”. Saying “NO” can definitely be used to take back your power, set some boundaries and used to check your own negative thoughts. Those 2 little letters “N O” has the potential to refill your cup!

With everything going on in the world, to me the “NO”vember Challenge was right on time! Don’t worry, if you missed it this year, you don’t have to wait until next November to begin saying “NO”. You can start the 30 day challenge any month or day of the year. Remember you can take 1 challenge reminder and focus on it or you can take all 30 challenge reminders and spread the challenge over a couple of months!

Below are 10 lessons that I took away from this year’s “NO”vember Challenge. This was my first year to implement the power of my “NO” to heal from my previous car wreck that has caused lingering physical and emotional trauma. I also used it to deal with overthinking, being stressed out and working towards knocking down my list of what I will overcome (more on that shortly). Everyone’s experience will be different; however, I do sincerely hope that you get something out of the “NO”vember Challenge like I did. I’m always up for recharging my self-care routine and practicing mental well-being so the posts that I selected had exactly that in mind, recharging along with challenging myself! Over 30 days in November, I intentionally created reminders that would be thought provoking. Most were written and created by myself, but I did run across some cool “NO”vember Challenge posts that I adapted the reminders from.

Don’t forget to let me know what you think! To see all 30 posts from November, check out Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn @DrTaraReed.

Lesson 1: I almost gave up on day 2. Yes day 2. I didn’t realize I was already deep into saying yes to projects, people, basically anybody or anything but myself. So turning some of my yesses to NOs was looking more like a mountain and not like a mole hill to get over. And did I say it was only day 2? I am grateful that my determination, faith and strength, kicked in or this blog entry would have gone totally another way. You would be reading more about how I failed rather than reading about the lessons I’ve learned. Why quit now before you find out if the challenge works or not? Remember, never give up…ok!

Lesson 2: Did you know that you don’t have to do it all yourself. That it’s ok to ask for help? Remember, these are the lessons that I learned during the “NO”vember Challenge and this one was truly eye opening for me. Instead of me using my “NO” to say I’m not going to do everything all by myself, I was using my “NO” to tell my friends, family members, pretty much anyone that offered to help I didn’t need it, when I really did. Now I agree, that this may not be the end result every time; however, I’m betting that asking for help or accepting help is an underused tool to reclaiming some of our own time back. Think about it!