Every year as the holidays near, I find it’s even more imperative to crazy busy women to emphasize boundaries and the power and freedom to say “no” to all the requests you’ll inevitably receive.
This year, instead of doing the things you feel you have to do, I want you to focus on how you can have the most joy possible. Saying “no” paves the way for you to say “yes” to the fun things. Here’s how to do it!
What Do You Want Out of This Holiday Season?
Set your intention for the holidays and take stock of what it is you really want. We end up doing so many things that we don’t want to do, and we’re left feeling exhausted and burned out because we did way too much.
Here’s a secret: you don’t have to do everything! Focus on what you actually want to do, the important things to your family and/or significant other. Make a list of these things and make the time to make them a priority.
Get Comfortable with Saying “No”
As a crazy busy woman, part of why you’re so successful is that you’re a rock star who gets things done. When somebody needs a badass to step in and make magic happen, you’re probably the first person they think of.
But what is this emotional labor costing you? Energy, time, and enjoyment are probably at the top of the list. If you’re the first person they think of, it’s because they know you’ll say “yes,” and they don’t have to put in further effort. Often, when we say “no,” we feel like we have to overexplain or even lie so we don’t hurt feelings.
Here’s the thing: if you say “no” if it’s important enough to them, they will inevitably find a way to get it done. If you do want to help, but you can’t make it happen on your own with the time you have, try the “Yes, but…” method. For example: “Yes, but I’m going to need help with setting up.” Or: “Yes, but I will have to leave by 8.”
Pause Before You Answer
It’s almost scary how easy it is to say “yes” because it’s a natural reaction that takes no time to process what we want. Things get done, no feelings are hurt, and it’s one and done.
Except that “yes” leaves you drained of joy and energy. Always ask yourself what it’s going to cost you to say it.
Next time you’re asked to do something, pause before you answer. If it fits within your intention for the holidays and you genuinely want to do it, then go for it! But if it doesn’t fit your values and it’s going to cause more stress than gladness, you can start by saying, “I need to look at my commitments, and I’ll let you know.”
Take Things off Your Plate
Taking things off your plate can free up so much of you, and there are ways to still do the things you want to do without doing them all yourself. We are so good at taking on so much, and the magic of the holidays silently falls on women.
We often do all the work to create a perfect holiday, staying up all hours, working nonstop to make that magic happen. All while working, parenting, and doing all the other things we do. We suffer quietly in the background pretending to be fine, and get things done so they don’t fall on anyone else.
Asking for help creates connections with people, and we can’t connect with people without being vulnerable. People don’t think you need it because you’ve always taken it on, and things always look so perfect. They probably have no idea what you’ve put into it. And you know what? They want to help you. So ask for help!
Turn Your Stressful To-Do List into Enjoyment
How often do you find yourself saying, “I’ve got to…” when talking about your to-dos? This is a clear sign of getting through the holidays. You’re not enjoying. You’re surviving. We are busy, and there is a lot to do, but when you’re living in integrity to yourself and focusing on doing the things you want to do, you’re able to enjoy this time much more.
There is so much pressure to get things done that it takes the joy out of the season. There is so much pressure to get things done that it takes the fun out of the season. Sometimes we don’t meet the expectations we have in our head because of this expectation of perfection we have in our heads.
When you catch yourself saying, “I’ve got to…” shift your mindset to “I’m excited to…” or “I get to…”
Making changes in your perspective takes time, so start small and work toward setting boundaries on the bigger things. The power of “no” is that we are at the center of our lives, putting ourselves first. What I make time for in my life is regulated by the word “no.”
Say no to the simple stuff, and tackling the more significant boundaries will become more comfortable with time.
Stop beating yourself up and asking for perfectionism for these things you have in your mind. Instead, go to joy. Nobody will know that the final result isn’t the vision of perfection you had in mind. They’re going to focus more on the time and the magic of the season.