Certainly some excellent advice here! In the end, you need to do YOU. It's wonderful you're so willing to be involved in many commitments but when it's intruding on the you in your life, you definitely need to prioritize. As someone said, just because you have a more open schedule because you're a SAHM, doesn't mean you have to do it all! I found I am much more stress free by worrying about me first, even if I can't make it to social engagements I would like to attend. Also to reiterate, you truly may find some individuals who were using you because you are always the go-to gal for things. It will be so refreshing to say no!
I found myself over-involved in lots of things that I was doing for others while not enjoying what I was doing for them. I finally put a stop to being used by others by telling them something like this:
"I'm so sorry, Jane, but at this time I'm unable to make any commitments. I've found myself very stressed lately, and right now I'm having to focus on my health, both physically and mentally. I would appreciate if you could find someone else to help with that right now."
Surprisingly, it has worked for me, and it makes it much easier to put the brakes on if the other person persists on asking you for favors. And, not surprising (but unfortunate), a few of the people that I have told "NO" to have never called me back. Sometimes it is true that "a friend in need, is a friend in deed."
I have to admit, that it has been totally worth reclaiming my own life by learning to say "NO." Those who are true friends and good family haven't minded one bit that I haven't been available for favors 100% of the time. I do what I want to do FIRST.
I used to have this problem and then I read this awesome book called Boundaries. It is by Drs Cloud and Townsend. And it taught me so much. Sometimes I still do have problems because I am a people pleaser to my core. One could even buy an additional workbook.
Available from Amazon.com
There are sister books, too. About Boundaries in Marriage and Boundaries with your Kids.
I think the key to saying "no" successfully is to sound like you mean it. In other words, make it clear that your "no" is not open to negotiation. If you've always been the one to say "yes" to things, then it might be difficult for people to understand that you're saying "no" instead. They might try to persuade you with statements such as, "can't you spare just a bit of time" or "come on, it'll be fun" or whatever else they think will work with you.
While you're getting used to saying no, it might be useful for you to role-play a few scenarios in your head so that you're not blindsided if you have the conversation for real.
One thing that I've found to be really effective is finding a short phrase that you can repeat over and over again for each request. Say the same words each time. Here are a couple of examples:
Them: "Trinity. We're passing out phone sheets for the volunteer drive. Most people are taking two sheets. How many can I put you down for?" Me: "Oh, I'm sorry. I can't take any phone sheets. I would be uncomfortable committing to making the calls when I know I won't have the time before the deadline. Is there something else I can do to help that isn't time-sensitive?" Them: "Well, can't you take just one?" Me:"I'm sorry, I can't." (Repeat "I'm sorry, I can't" for each further push. Eventually they'll either find a non-time-sensitive task or give up)
Them: "Trinity, why aren't you eating any cake? I thought you loved chocolate." Me: "Oh, I do, but I'm so full from that delicious lunch that I can't eat another bite." Them: "Oh come on, one little slice won't hurt you" Me: "No thank you." (Repeat "No thank you" for each additional push. Eventually, they stop.)
NOTE: This also works well when saying "no" to my children.
In an appointment book or on an appointment calendar write the times you need for your family and yourself. Then, add a few extracurricular things--but only a few. Believe me, there are others who can help out--you don't need to do it all!
I am finding it hard learning to say "No." I find myself overcommitting myself to school, friends, etc. As a SAHM, I feel even more obligated to say "Yes," since so many others work and can't help out. I think I need to establish better boundaries of when I am available and when I am not. My weekend will be taken up with a lot of stuff for others but not enough for ME!!! Even worse right now as DH is away on business for 1 1/2 weeks. Trying to find balance so I don't use food as a way to compensate my stress.
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