Give yourself the gift of saying "No" this silly season

The holiday season is meant to be a time for family, fun, and rest before launching into another hectic year...

For many of us though, the holiday season comes and goes in one giant blur that often leaves us feeling drained. One explanation for this (besides the North Queensland heat!) may be that we constantly feel the need to say “yes” to everything, when we really need to say “no” to certain things. While this definitely occurs at all times of the year, we find it especially hard to say no to things around Christmas, because it is a time of “giving”, but maybe we need to stop and think about “giving” ourselves a break! Between work parties, children’s end of year school and sport commitments, not to mention the lead up and clean up that surrounds holiday festivities, it is easy to see why we feel like we need a holiday after the holidays! So how do you say “no” without feeling guilty?

Things to know about saying “No”
  • Saying “no” isn’t always easy, but it’s a skill that’s necessary to protect your own priorities, time, and your mental wellbeing.
  • Say ‘no’ if you have any doubt. It’s much easier to say ‘no’ to a request in the first instance. Afterwards you can certainly change your mind. That’s much easier than saying ‘yes’ and then having to backtrack with a ‘no’.
  • Saying “no” does not equal a missed opportunity, in fact it may open you up to a better opportunity that benefits you more in the long run
  • Saying no to a new commitment honours your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfil these commitments.
  • If time permits, sleep on it before you make a decision - It’s going to be much easier to say no once you’ve had time to consider all of your commitments and whether you can realistically add this request to your schedule.
  • When it’s time to say no, just say no! - Avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” People will often see these phrases as an unconscious “yes”.
  • When you're feeling pressure to say yes and giving in feels easier than taking a stand, think of what you are REALLY saying yes to. For example, if directing your child’s Christmas Play means even less time spent with your children, focusing your attention on this fact will help you say no and keep your priorities straight!
  • When telling someone “no”, try and use the word “because” when telling them why. Research has shown that people who use “because” in their sentences, are more likely to gain compliance. For example you could say: “Sorry Sue, I cannot run the Christmas stall this week because I have family commitments.”
  • Know that it’s normal to feel uncomfortable when you say ‘no’. Breathe through this feeling.

Give yourself the gift of saying "No" this holiday season, and save some sanity for 2017!