Say No to People, Yes to Yourself
Overbooked and overwhelmed? Let’s talk about how to say “No” which creates more yes time to take care of yourself.
Life can often feel like it revolves around others people’s needs.
The kids need breakfast. Your parents need a ride to their doctor’s appointment. A coworker needs help with a project. A friend needs to vent. Another friend needs you to stuff a bunch of gift bags for a charity event.
The to-do list never ends.
But when was the last time you did something for yourself?
If you can’t recall, or it’s been a while, you may be feeling tired or frustrated. It’s time to address the problem.
Why We’re So Busy
In our society, we have mastered the art of filling our schedules to the brim, says Julie Kays, a clinical counselor at Stella Maris in Timonium, Maryland.
“But we are not as good at making sure that there is time in every day to rest and recover from our busyness,” she says.
Making more space for yourself often means saying no to others. This can be tough, especially if you dread confrontation. You may also wonder: Will the kids scream? Will the coworker or friend feel offended?
Doing too much will inevitably leave you exhausted, causing your mental, and even physical, well-being to suffer, says Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist in New York City.
“There will not be enough of you to go around, and you will likely fall short on anything and anyone you have committed to,” Hafeez says.
Tips for Saying “No”
The first step to overcoming this habit of yes is to carefully select who takes precedence.
“Do you really need to say yes to attending an out-of-town wedding for someone you have met a few times in the park with your kids?” Dr. Hafeez says. In other words, pick those people in your life who you really care about for a “yes” list. Everyone else can wait.
Some requests are harder to turn down. While long and expensive wedding travel may be an easy no, refusing to help organize a charity event is tougher. You want to help where you can, after all, but the time adds up.
“It’s OK to say something along the lines of, ‘I already give my time to charity X, I have to see if this is a commitment I can take on,'” Dr. Hafeez says.
Once you have decided to say no, don’t procrastinate. The sooner you do decline, the better for everyone involved.
“For example, if you are asked in September to host a December holiday dinner for your child’s school, but you know the holidays are a busy time for you, say no early on,” Dr. Hafeez says.
This way, the person who is asking you for a favor will have time to make alternative arrangements.
You also should not feel obligated to explain yourself too much.
“Women often feel we have to explain the reasons why we can’t do something and give a dissertation on why we can’t say yes,” Dr. Hafeez says. So just say what you need to say and stick to it.
If you are still unconvinced, remember: you need “me time” to feel your best, and ultimately to have more energy for the ones you love the most. After you say no, and have time to yourself, make sure you’re treating yourself to a great night’s sleep in a Sleep Number smart bed.
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Photo by Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash