We've all been there.
That moment when you feel so overwhelmed with everything that you “have to do” that you don't know where to start. And the last thing you want to do is to say "no" to someone who is asking for help or wants to spend time with you.
Let's face it — our lives are often jam-packed with things to do, people to see, and commitments to uphold. It's easy to get caught up in a cycle of saying "yes" to every request that comes our way, even when we're feeling overwhelmed and overworked. In these moments, it's important to remember that saying "no" is a powerful tool that we can use to protect our time, energy, and well-being.
First, let’s accept that saying no is the best thing you can do for yourself sometimes. It is hard to set boundaries if you are not used to doing so, but you will learn. As you practice this skill, the people around you will learn to respect these new boundaries, and they will adjust.
Second, it's important to note that deciding to say no is the initial internal decision, while the follow-through and execution are external. You have to say and do something different from your power center. This may feel uncomfortable, so I have developed a list of direct yet polite ways to say no when you are feeling overwhelmed:
1. "I appreciate your offer, but I'm going to have to say no."
2. "Thank you for thinking of me, but I can't commit to that right now."
3. "I'm sorry, but I'm already feeling overwhelmed, and saying yes to this would just add to that."
4. "No, thank you."
5. "I don't think I'm the best person for this task."
6. "I'm honored that you would ask me, but I don't think I'm qualified."
7. "Thank you, but I don't think this is something I'm interested in."
8. "Can I take a rain check on that?"
[Note: Only say this if you mean it. You don’t need the guilt that comes from being disingenuous.]
9. "Let me think about it and get back to you."
10. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm going to have to decline."
Finally, remember that setting boundaries and saying no is an act of self-care. Taking care of your own needs allows you to show up as your best self for others. When you're feeling overwhelmed, take some time to prioritize your well-being. This might include getting a good night's sleep, taking a break from technology, or doing something that brings you joy and relaxation.
Saying no can be challenging, but it's an important skill to cultivate if you want to protect your time, energy, and well-being. By setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing what matters to you, you can show up as your best self and live a more fulfilled life. Remember that saying no is okay and that the people in your life will respect your boundaries if you communicate them clearly and respectfully. So the next time you're feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and remember: you have the power (and the words!) to say no.