Sometimes it’s ok to say no.  Sometimes you feel like you have to say no and sometimes you feel like you can’t say no.  But saying no can be good for your health.

Facing burnout is a very real thing.  And it can be very damaging for your mind and our body.  In a past post, I wrote about the differences between between America and other countries when it comes to stress.  What was interesting to me was that other countries seem to have very different lifestyles.  They have more time off, they actually eat lunch without looking at a computer screen and they eat very differently.  All of this adds up to a healthier lifestyle.  But what I did not see in any of my research was information on saying no.

Saying no is hard.  It’s not a fun thing to do.  You might have FOMO (fear of missing out) when you say no.  But it’s something that, if done regularly and mindfully, will help you live a life that has much lower stress levels.  This year has been my year of saying no.  Yup, it’s true.  Last year was my year of saying yes and it caused a lot of issues.  I learned in April that I had to start saying no or I would be burnout almost all the time.  Since I started, I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve learned that you might upset people, that you might lose a friend or two, that you might cause a riff with your family and that you might feel guilty.  But I also learned that saying no can be freeing.  Because saying no has helped me live with less stress, I’ve come up with some tips to help you feel ok with saying no.

1. Remember what YOU want!

By keeping your priorities in mind, you won’t have that guilt surrounding saying no.  If you have an event to go to or a project to work on or even just need to do laundry and get an invite, don’t feel bad saying no.  Because you’re saying no in order to make room for your own personal yes.

2. Don’t be afraid

For most people, we are afraid to say no because we don’t want to hurt someone else’s feelings or we don’t want to look like we’re a bad person.  Sometimes we have to do what scares us most in order to feel ourselves.  Saying no might be something that scares you so much, but by saying it more and more, it will become easier.

3. Ask yourself “What am I saying no to?”

By asking this question, you’ll be able to get down to the nitty gritty of what you’ve been asked to do or invited to.  You’ll figure out if it’s really important to you to say yes or if you can live with saying no.  And you’ll learn what is really important to you.

4. Know that you’ll find your tribe

By saying no, you actually find out not only what’s import in your life, but you’ll also find out who is important in your life.  When you say no, you may find you offend people or make people mad.  Most of the time, they’re mad because they don’t understand your situation.  Those that you say no to but still are ok with it won’t be mad because they do understand.  And you will find out, those people are in your tribe.

5. Fake it until you make it

In the beginning, saying no is going to be hard.  It’s not easy because you’re not used to it.  You’re not confident with using the word no.  I say fake it until you make it!  And this goes for anything.  If you’re not comfortable, do it anyway.  If you’re scared, do it anyway!  The more you try something, the more it will become easier.

Trust me, saying no is not easy.  I’ve said this a number of times already, but it’s true!  Saying no is something that is scary, but it can also be very freeing too.  Saying no can help you with a lot of things.  So here’s my challenge.

I dare you to say no at least 7 times in the next week – one for each day of the week.  

Yup, at least 7 times.  Next Sunday do a self-check.  How did you do?  If you only said no 5 times, don’t beat yourself up.  Heck, if you only said no 3 times, definitely don’t beat yourself up.  But continue the practice and don’t give up.  Make sure to get back to me next week on your challenge.  I want to hear all about it!