How to Reduce Stress: The Power of Saying No (Even to Yourself)

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Stress Management

The To Do list, Folks, has been ever-changing and a shapeshifter lately. The business is going with a new development launching soon, the property is nearly ready for winter, and we are making strides in the next detour of Life post-recent curveball. There hasn’t been a lot of headspace or time for relaxation, but then sometimes I can be so poor at saying no.

Do you feel the same way? Or, do you think you can do one more thing just to find out there’s already a lot on your plate? Or, my personal favorite: committing to something and not knowing how long it’ll take out of the day or week? Hours or days later that project is staring and saying, “You said you’d take care of this and you should feel guilty and lazy for not getting this done…”

Ugh, the Ego…or the Human Side of us. Sometimes we overcommit, try to please others, fill a hole within, or stay so busy we can’t learn more about our best Selves. Been there, done that.

For sure, we all have responsibilities and it helps to create lists or get organizedBut perpetually feeling behind or running ourselves ragged might mean something else: we might have to say “no” so we can say “yes” to the real thing that helps us. No illusions, no half-baked scenarios.

Here are some things to consider and why saying, “No” is useful:

  1. Saying no to the 23rdsocial event of the month = Saying yes to better rest, maybe, and time to unwind. Yes, this includes online events during COVID or even small, safe gatherings that have miraculously taken over the calendar.
  2. Saying no to the fun shopping experience when money is tight = Saying yes to a future vacation you have totally earned.
  3. Saying no to degrading self-talk = Saying yes to even five minutes of exercise, breathing routines, or self-care.
  4. Saying no to someone else’s expectation of you (to be smarter, sexier, more successful) = Saying yes to who you truly are and how cool you are without their labeling and pressure on you.
  5. Saying no to poor boundaries from friends or family = Saying yes to your time, your needs, and your opportunities to live life fully on your wisest terms.

I can type this out because I have been pretty bad at this lately! 🙂 It’s funny how old patterns or ways of living can creep up. Sometimes it takes exhaustion and lack of mental bandwidth to look in the mirror and go, “Oh….doing it again…” And darned if I want you going through the same thing.

My Wiser Self would say a few more (kind, but honest) “No, thank yous,” to make strides in other exciting, and frankly, more fulfilling areas of life. Even though a lot of us are self-distancing as best as possible, cloistering to our homes, there’s still some room to put up the hand to outside items that don’t need to happen right now (or maybe ever).

Do you need to give yourself a little more forgiveness and grace? We all have our responsibilities to others, but we also have a responsibility to ourselves, Friends. We can’t keep helping others out, or especially ourself, if we run on empty. We might take on new things that could help us in a sprint, but when the goal is to complete a marathon, we’ll wear ourselves out pretty quickly.

What are two to three things you can honestly say no to next week or in the next couple of days? Write them out, and then practice saying no to these things, people, or situations. Try it, and love on yourself if you don’t do it stellar in the beginning. What’s cool about a lifetime of learning is you get chances to try to better yourself again and again. If you need some help along the way, email me or write in a comment below. I’m here to walk with you and create content that is helpful. You’re why I started this FSW journey and I can’t wait to help you say, “Hell no” to the things that don’t serve you anymore. 🙂 Sometimes it takes a Buddy System and that’s totally ok. We’re all here to try to make the world a better place – so let’s start with YOU.

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