How to say NO this silly season!
If your calendar is anything like mine, it will already be filled with school performances, preschool santa visits, work deadlines, planned holidays, fundraisers, family events, Christmas parties, kids Christmas parties, play dates, adult social events and all the rest!! The thought of cramming everything in and keeping everyone happy brings up that familiar anxious feeling for me and many other women.
So how do you cope with the silly season and ensure you keep your own sanity in check? The answer is to remember your personal values and learn to say no when you need to.
Knowing your personal values is about knowing what’s truly important to YOU and making sure you make decisions aligned to YOUR values. Christmas is a time when we can fall into the habit of saying YES to everyone and losing ourselves in the process.
One aspect for me is people pleasing. I have always been a people pleaser. I have always been a social butterfly and while I was younger I managed to fit it all in and I would actually feel energised from social situations. I find that balance much harder now that I have a family and now that my work involves personal interaction daily. I now find that additional social situations can drain me rather than give me energy, especially if I have too many on… but I find it hard to say no as I don’t like to let people down.
Over the years I’ve become clearer that my own wellness is a value to me. Part of that wellness is to avoid feeling burnt out by committing to too many events or social situations. Another part is just to ensure that I’m consistently making personal time for myself each day. That personal time might be me doing a workout, or just spending some quiet time alone with myself or my family. As we get busier, I have learnt to say no to things that compromise my personal time. But won’t that upset people? Yes it might, but it doesn’t have to.
When you make a values aligned decision, it becomes much easier to articulate why you are saying no. It involves saying ‘no thankyou’ to some social events, it involves not catching up with everyone I haven’t seen for a while but when I explain why, most people will understand, and if they don’t…I now realise that’s not my issue to deal with.
I think sometimes we place too high expectations on ourselves and our friends when it comes to social events. Saying no to dinner and drinks is not saying no to the friendship. Saying no to a playdate is not saying we don’t like your children. Saying no to hosting Christmas lunch at your place that is mid renovation is not saying no to your family. Saying no to prioritise your values is something we should all respect, and do more of.
Some of the things you might be able to say no to these holidays other than social situations:
Family- whilst most of us cherish our time with extended family at Christmas, make sure you are not saying yes to everyone else and letting your needs go unnoticed.
Social Situations- a cheeky drink and dinner out might be top of your list, but if it means missing out on YOU time or nursing a hangover for a few days, then maybe its time to say no thanks or suggest a quick coffee instead.
Kids Play Dates– whilst sometimes a play date is exactly what you or the kids need, if you find yourself driving the kids around to keep them happy at the expense of something more important then it might be time to say no.
Buying presents– although some of us love the whole exchange of gifts, if spending money puts you or your family under financial stress, then I would avoid the present buying this year. (I certainly am!)
So in summary, I urge you to practice saying no more these holidays. Practise putting yourself first a little more. Practise making your decisions values based and practice not taking on other people expectations.