Hands up if you’re exhausted. You’re not alone.
And it’s no surprise if you’ve spent Christmas running around after friends and family, trying to make sure everyone enjoys themselves.
Imagine if you had said no to some of the things you were asked to do. You might feel uncomfortable just thinking about it.
But the truth is being able to say no is empowering.
Saying yes when you don’t want to can lead to stress and resentment.
Whereas knowing when to say no – and being able to say it – frees you from all the “shoulds” that you feel obliged to do.
LIKE YOU MEAN IT
First things first – when should you say no? When faced with a decision, ask yourself the following questions: Do I have time? Do I want to do this? Will it benefit me? Will I resent doing it? What will I have to ditch to do it? If I say yes, will I end up making excuses or lying to get out of what I agreed to?
Answer these questions honestly and it should be clear what you should do.
TOP TIP: If you decide to say no, do it with confidence. Don’t waver and say “maybe” or “no, but”. Be polite and firm – then stick to your guns.
Say no to… FAMILY
It can be hard for family to understand why you’re turning down an invite or request for help.
Family often expect you to be at their beck and call whenever help is needed – to move house, give them a lift or lend money.
They also know exactly how to guilt-trip you and may feel perfectly comfortable dumping demands on you, knowing you’ll find it hard to turn them down.
However, saying yes constantly is exhausting, and it’s perfectly OK to say no from time to time. This will make it clear you’re not a pushover.
TOP TIP: Be firm, but soften the blow by offering an alternative. For example, if you are always called on to babysit, try: “I’m really not comfortable looking after kids, so I won’t be able to do this. Why don’t you try my friend’s babysitter?”
Say no to… FRIENDS
It’s easy to feel guilty about saying no to friends. You may worry they will think you don’t like them or decide you’re flaky
However, if you find yourself always rushing from commitment to commitment, you won’t have enough time to look after yourself as well.
The trick to saying no to friends is to use the old classic, “it’s not you, it’s me”. Be concise and honest – don’t feel pressured into giving a long-winded explanation.
“I wish I could but I can’t today” is a helpful line to have up your sleeve – you aren’t making an excuse and it implies you appreciate the offer.
TOP TIP: Before saying yes or no, work out whether you actually want to do whatever you’ve been asked to do. Unless it’s a very special occasion, you shouldn’t do something just because you feel obliged to.
Say no to…
Once you’re more comfortable saying no to people and social invitations, you’ll find you have
So once you have a blissful evening to yourself, what will you do? Relaxing bubble bath? An evening stroll? Or will you sit on the sofa scrolling through social media before collapsing into bed exhausted?
It’s far too easy to end up glued to your phone, and before you know it, that precious downtime you worked so hard to preserve has gone down the drain.
Studies have shown that frequent checking of social media increases anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness.
It has even been linked to obesity, heart disease and cancer due to
the hours of mindless, sedentary scrolling.
Start keeping a log of how much time you spend on a screen, not including when you’re at work. This will give you a realistic picture of how many hours you’re losing to social media.
Set yourself the goal of reducing your screen time by half, then by half again until you are using it more consciously and only when you really want to.
TOP TIP: You can get apps for your phone or tablet which log or restrict the amount of time you can look at certain sites.
Extracted by MERNIE GILMORE from The Joy Of No by Debbie Chapman (Summersdale, £7.99)