Saying “No” Is Good for You

Around this time of year, we’re asked to help a lot of people, attend a lot of gatherings, join a lot of activities. Many of us default to saying yes. Loneliness can be bad for your health. It becomes more pronounced in cold months when we might not leave the house as much. That might make us want to say yes to everything. However, saying yes to everything can be harmful to your health. You need time to breathe, and participating in things you don’t enjoy can be stressful.
 
One step you can take is prioritizing what you want to say yes to doing. If you love cookie exchanges and holiday bazaars, go! If you dislike nativities or school concerts, say no. If you make a list of what you want to do, it can be easier to say no to things. When you say no, don’t offer an excuse, just say no, that you need some time off. When you make excuses, it can come back to bite you. If you say you’re “Doing something with Carol,” the host may say, “Bring her.”     
 
Saying no can make you worry about endangering your relationships. However, saying yes and being stretched too far can not only be harmful to your health, but it can also damage relationships. You may come to resent people who invite you to too many things that you feel you have to say yes to. It can make you enjoy the relationship less or even lead to avoidance if you feel like talking to a specific someone will mean you always have to go out.
 
Religious or community groups may want to do things frequently. Being a part of so many communities is terrific, but feeling like you have to participate all the time can run you down. Make a list of who you want to see and how many times you want to take part. Then stick to it! You can enjoy those interactions more when you know how frequent they are going to occur.
 
Don’t feel guilty for saying no! That guilt can make you commit yourself to doing things you don’t want to do. Make sure you spend quality time with people. Enjoy your time together, have a pleasant chat and then move on. Tell the person what you will and won’t do, “I would love to bring a dish; but I can’t help set up.”
 
You cannot be everywhere at once, you can’t be everything to everyone and you need to take time for yourself. Sometimes, the reason not to participate in an activity is simply that you want time at home to read a book, do some chores, be alone in your own space. That is a perfectly valid reason to say no.
 
Saying no to the things you don’t want to do allows you to be your best at the events you wish to participate in this season! Arm yourself with the power of no and enjoy the events you attend.
December 18, 2019
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