Stress: How To Say ‘No’ (And Be OK With It)

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Be honest: how many times have you felt guilty for saying ‘no’ to someone?

If it makes you cringe to your core, you’re not alone. New research conducted on behalf of Naked by Be Different Broadcast has found that 77 percent of UK adults struggle to turn someone down, and also don’t carve out time for themselves.

Conveniently, it’s International Stress Week, and so if your cup is already pretty full (which it most likely is with a second lockdown looming), you might find these tips from Big Brother psychotherapist Diane Youdale just the ticket to help you pluck up some courage to say ‘no’ more.

“While for some, lockdown has meant more ‘me time’, which has also made us look more available, and more prone to being asked to do things that stretch our boundaries.

“In times like this, when our wellbeing is more important than ever, saying ‘no’ is a vital skill. There are some simple tips we can all put into practice to help reclaim our time and look after ourselves as much as we do others”, Diane says.

Set Boundaries

“One way to deal with the guilt that comes with saying ‘no’ is setting boundaries up front. For example, set a rule on how many plans you will commit to per week and communicate this to others. It’s a great way to fight off the feeling of guilt or being guilted by others.”

Put ‘Me Time’ In The Diary

“Plan in time for yourself in the same way you would time with others. If you’ve got a ‘free’ night, you’re more likely to feel pressured to say yes to plans when you don’t want to.

“But if you’ve got a self-care, movie or pamper night, then subconsciously you will feel less guilty because you’ve already got plans, even if it’s only with yourself!”

Consult Yourself

“Take the time to pause and consult yourself when asked to do something. You don’t need to give an answer straight away. Don’t be afraid to say ‘let me get back to you’ and take some time to think about whether it’s something you want or need to do.”

The Art Of Saying No

“There is an art to saying ‘no’. People worry it sounds rude but it doesn’t have to. Always start by saying thank you and give a simple explanation as to why you can’t commit.

“Don’t go overboard with excuses though – just tell the truth.”

Practice Makes Perfect

“We’re creatures with an incredible habit capability. Practicing saying no and prioritising ‘me time’ on a regular basis will help it become second nature.

“People will also learn and respect your boundaries and priorities so it will get easier every time.”