Pressing Pause podcast episode 20 What are your non-negotiables?


Welcome to Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers.

I’m Gabrielle Treanor and I’m here to share with you ideas, inspiration and actions to empower you to spend less time overthinking and worrying and more time enjoying your life.


Welcome to episode 20 where today we’re looking at non-negotiables. I’m not talking about a clause in a legal contract, I’m talking about what in your life is a non-negotiable. It’s a definite, a must, something that, barring an almighty great calamity, you make time for or find a way to make happen.

So, for example, I have a friend for whom sleep is a non-negotiable. It doesn't matter what is going on in her life, or what demands or expectations are being made of her, she will not be stopped from getting her required amount of sleep. And she has good reason for making this something she won’t negotiate or bend the rules for. My friend knows that if she doesn't get the sleep she needs her work will suffer, her relationships with her husband, her children and her colleagues will suffer because she has less capacity for patience and compassion, and her health will suffer too. So while there are other things in life that she’s willing to compromise on, sleep is a non-negotiable for her. 

And this makes sense to me. Knowing how a lack of sleep will impact every area of her life it’s only logical that she makes it a priority. 

What you and I consider to be non-negotiable in our lives may be completely different and that’s fine. It’s whatever works for us as individuals in our unique lives. 

Now, you might be listening to this thinking that you can’t be so rigid and demanding to have something in your life that you won’t negotiate on. You have responsibilities, people to look after, you can’t be selfish and put your needs above everyone else’s. 

I’m not suggesting you do. I’m not suggesting that you dig your heels in and insist that everything in life has to be done just as you want it. That’s not what taking care of yourself is about and non-negotiables are a form of self-care, knowing what is of importance and benefit to you personally, gives you the chance to be the best version of yourself which means you can really show up for the people you care about too. 

As I spoke about in episode 11 self-care isn’t saying me first it’s saying me as well. Your needs matter along with everyone else’s in your life. You can use the idea of non-negotiables to protect acts of self-care that are really important to your wellbeing, your mental and physical health, so that you can show up as your fullest self and have the energy and ability to take care of those around you too. 

Imagine you had someone in your care, you’re responsible for their health and wellbeing. It’d be a given that you would make sure they had nourishing food to eat, clothing appropriate to the weather conditions, somewhere comfortable and safe to live and they feel valued and cared for. They’re pretty basic but they’re not really optional, are they? They’re non-negotiable and while that may seem obvious to you it shows that there are things in life that you already believe to be non-negotiable and that you protect for yourself and those around you.

So, what else in life, besides your most basic needs, enables you to be healthy in mind and body? Perhaps there’s something that is already a non-negotiable for you and you simply haven’t recognised it in that way. Or maybe there’s something that you know makes you better able to deal with life’s challenges, helps you to be more creative or patient or kind or fun! But you somehow don’t make time for it, even though you know it’s good for you and those around you. 

Remember a non-negotiable is whatever works and feels right for you. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s silly or small or if no-one else gets it. If it supports your wellbeing it’s right for you.

Let me give you a couple more examples. I don’t necessarily decide I’m going to create a non-negotiable, often something evolves until I realise how valuable it is to how I feel and function. And so then I want to protect it to make sure I, and those around me, benefit from this little act of self-care.

So a non-negotiable for me is eating my lunch away from where I’m working. I know, it’s not earth-shattering but after years working in offices eating lunch at my desk, typing with one hand, a non-negotiable for me is to make lunch a proper break, to change my physical space, even if it's only for 15 minutes. I sit at my kitchen table, look out of the patio doors and perhaps listen to the radio or a short podcast while I eat. I know that taking a break from work, changing the space I’m in and the stimulus, refreshes me for the afternoon. It’s like pressing a little reset button, it doesn’t make me super productive and creative all of a sudden but it certainly makes me work better than I would if I hadn’t taken a break at all. 

Another non-negotiable for me is writing in my gratitude journal every night. Come what may, before I go to sleep, I will write three things that I’m thankful for about my day. If I’m away for the night the journal comes with me because I know how beneficial those couple of minutes reflecting on the day, and writing down what was good about it, what made me smile, what I feel grateful for, are. I started this habit a few years ago when I kept reading about how powerful regular gratitude practice is in positive psychology books. There’s solid research backing up how it builds resilience, helps you cope better with stress and increases the joy and optimism you feel, and my own experience shows this to be true.

I get very passionate about gratitude practice when I start talking about it, as you can probably tell, but as the topic of this episode is non-negotiables I’ll just direct you to episode three to find out more about the life-changing power of gratitude practice. Or you can check out A Thankful Heart course on my website.

So, other examples of non-negotiables could be taking a walk every day or drinking a cup of tea in bed on Saturday mornings. Reading a book before sleep or meditating daily. A night out followed by a night in to preserve your energy and prevent overwhelm. Five minutes to yourself when you get home from work. 

Non-negotiables are entirely subjective, it doesn’t matter what it is or what anyone else thinks about it, if it supports your mental and physical wellbeing it’s valid.

So, what are the non-negotiables in your life? What are you already doing that supports you and how would you benefit if you made it a non-negotiable? I asked this question in my email newsletter a few months ago and the replies I got were fascinating. I’d love to hear about the non-negotiables in your life so do email me or message me on Instagram where I’m @gabrielletreanor.

Thank you for joining me for Pressing Pause, the podcast for overthinkers. You can find the show notes and other episodes at 

If you’d like to use the power of regular gratitude practice to build your resilience, feel more optimistic, spend less time overthinking and more time enjoying what’s already in your life, take a look at my online course, A Thankful Heart, and start feeling the positive difference in your life within three weeks. Go to to find all the information and join. 

Thanks again for listening, until next time, lovely people.