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How to Say No and Keep Your Sanity

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how-to-say-noSometimes, we need to say no to keep our sanity.

Open all of your social media feeds and you’re sure to find a myriad of comments, status updates, tweets and beautifully-filtered Instagrams all somehow lamenting the same complaint: We’re all too busy. Life is hectic and hectic is hard.  We have deadlines and play dates, mouths to feed, toenails to paint, dinner to cook and money to make.


The question is – how much of your overwhelming stress and chaos is up to you? It can be hard to say no, whether it’s to a new project, a more demanding job, or just a request to get together with a friend. But sometimes, saying no might be exactly what you need. Saying no when you need to can be a life preserver tossed to you in the nick of time before you drown in your sea of busy.

Say it loud, clear and tactfully with these helpful tips.

How to Simplify Your Life

1. Be Clear

If you’ve been invited somewhere and you just know there’s no way you can make it, either because you’ve already overbooked yourself twice or simply because it will bring your level of exhaustion to the boiling point, say a clear “no.” Don’t say “maybe.” Don’t say you’ll check your calendar and get back to the inviter later. That’s unfair. Besides, you’ll just be delaying the inevitable. Or worse, you might forget to respond later, and that’s just rude. If you’re going to say no, say it clearly and own it.

2. Be Honest

One of the most frequent causes of overbooked schedules and stressed out psyches is the desire not to let our friends down. That’s understandable, but you need to know yourself and know what you need, too. If you need to say no, be honest about it. Don’t make up excuses or lie about why you can’t make a party or a play-date. Tell the honest truth. You’re tired. You need a day off. Your kitchen might require a haz mat team if you don’t clean it soon. You just might inspire someone else to be honest too, the next time they’re invited somewhere they just can’t go.

3. Be Stern

Some people might try the playful guilt tactic after you turn them down. “But you never come to anything!” they’ll say. “But I miss you!” Acknowledge your friend’s feelings, but don’t let them make you feel guilty. Be stern with them. “I’m so glad you invited me, but I just can’t. I need a day off. Maybe next time.”

4. Own It

Being proactive against guilt from your friends is important, but it’s just as important to guard against your own guilt. No one can do everything. Sometimes a day with no stress or running around can have the same healing impact on your heart as the strongest prescription medication. Everyone needs it – even the most social, most can-do superwomen among us crave the quiet sometimes.

When you’re overwhelmed and over-tired, saying no can be just what the doctor ordered. It’s not always easy, but you know when you need to do it. So be honest, be clear, and take care of yourself.

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