Why saying 'no' can be really good for your mental health
I recently found myself volunteering to pack bags at a local supermarket to raise money for a kid's charity, on Hallowe'en evening from 3-5pm.
You know, right when I should have been at home having Hallowe'en fun with my own kids.
I had already jumped in with both feet and offered my services which had been accepted before I sat back and thought 'WTF did I just do?!' and panicked. How I was supposed to tell Alan that he would now be taking care of all the Hallowe'en party prep by himself.. and all because I couldn't say no?
Alan and I have had this kind of conversation over the years, and while I've been getting better at prioritising the kinds of things that I can realistically take on board (like, I couldn't host a huge 80's charity night recently AND fly to Portugal for my mate's 40th the next morning. I wanted to, but he made me get with the program). But often times, I still need to be reminded that it's ok to say no and Hallowe'en weekend was one of them.
In the end, the bag pack was cancelled so that Alan and I were able to take the kids to a nearby park for some autumnal walks and fun in the playground before heading home for Trick or Treating. I could totally have missed that, for the sake of, what - trying to impress some people that I don't know particularly well? It's weird, isn't it?!
If you find yourself baking for the school party even though it leaves you staying up past midnight when you're wrecked, offering to pick up your neighbour's kids even though it means doubling your school run time, throwing lunch for every family celebration when it would be far easier to go out.. well, meet your sister.
But the thing is, NOT saying no every now and then really isn't good for you. Think about how much more time you would have for you if you were just a teeny tiny bit more selfish. What if, this week, when you hear that there is a coffee morning or a babysitting problem that someone you don't know very well is experiencing, that you don't say 'I'll bake something!' or 'I'll do it, sure I love babysitting other people's kids!'
Be kinder to yourself, no one is going to judge you if you say 'No' every once in a while and maybe, just maybe, you'll find yourself a little bit less under pressure.
Do you have trouble saying no and take on too much? Join the conversation in the Facebook comments or on Twitter.