Third Day of Stress-less Christmas: Just Say No

Welcome to the Twelve Days of a Stress-Less Christmas!  If you are just joining us, it’s the Third Day in a series of tips on how you can keep the tension at bay and feel more joy this season.  Today’s tip is to Just Say No.  While this might remind you of the 80s Nancy Reagan anti-drug campaign, I’m talking about the power of saying “No” when you are faced with a request for something you don’t have time to do or don’t want to do.  

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On the Second Day of Stress-Less Christmas, we talked about the Mental Load of the Holidays.  During December, you now have another To Do List on top of your everyday ginormous To Do List.  And life was hectic enough! It’s been proven.  The Pew Center released a study on the difficulty that modern families have in balancing it all.   So, when you are asked to volunteer for the school play/class party/church bazaar/scout event, you may need to Just Say No to protect your sanity.  But how do you say No?  It’s hard, right?  We all want to be helpful, please others, be good community members.  

I (like many people I know) am that people pleaser and perfectionist.  I feel like I can always take one more thing on.  No problem – I’ll fit it in somewhere!  But I also know that in order to keep my healthy balance, I need my time for fitness and for making sure I’m nourishing myself and my family nutritiously.  So, I needed to learn how to say No.

Who better to teach this lesson than Oprah herself.  I stumbled upon these Podcasts, The Power of No, Part 1 and The Power of No, Part 2.  And I’ve listened to them more than once.  They’re hosted by Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) and Steve Almond, and just listening to their voices will bring your stress down a couple of notches.

I feel like learning to say No is a tool that I’ve had to develop for my Grown Up Adult Life Toolbox.  Make no mistake – there are also times to say Yes. How many times have you said Yes to an invitation to something that may have required your time, energy, commitment – and it was the most rewarding thing ever?  But there are also times to say No.  Knowing when to say Yes and when to say No is the challenge.

The other reason you might need to Just Say No during December is that five weeks of eating, drinking, dancing, and staying up late is a very long time.  Most people who are reading this blog are fitness-minded folks with classes and workouts to get to, even in December.   The invitations are flying at this time of the year and it’s OK to sit one out now and then to recharge.