The consequences of saying yes when you should be saying no

saying no

Do you find yourself saying yes when you really should be saying no? Are you the one who always ends up organising the junior football club fundraising or planning the long awaited high school reunion? Do you put your own wants and needs aside in order to do something for others? If this is the case, then you are not alone.

I think most people would agree that our lives are getting busier and as a whole we are feeling more and more frazzled and less and less productive. How often do you wish you could get off the treadmill for a while and find time to simply breathe? It happens to all of us at some stage and I am no exception.

In my experience we mothers are often the worst for trying to cram as many things into our lives as possible. Often we are working full time, managing the household, arranging things with the children, chief cook and bottle washer, you name it and we probably have responsibility for it.

While this may seem like a noble purpose and perhaps we even feel as if we have no other option, sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We believe that so many of these things have to be done by us, that no-one else is capable and that if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Then on top of all of this, we say yes to things we really don’t have the time to do and find the treadmill moving faster and faster. This inability many of us have to say no to any request can have a huge impact on our quality of life.

I have noticed that when I take on too much there are a number of things that suffer.

Physical health– When I have a very full schedule, the last thing on my mind is finding time to exercise. I know how important it is, how even simple exercise like walking the dog can have a positive benefit for not only my physical but also my mental health, yet it’s the first thing to go when I am busy.

Relationships– When I have taken on too much in my life I find that my mind is constantly running over the things that I have to get done. It can be extremely difficult to switch off when I need to. Many times I have found myself thinking about work commitments when I should have been enjoying time with my children. I try to convince myself that it’s all happening inside my head but it’s not, the children notice when I am not giving them my full attention.

Mental health– When my life is oversheduled I find myself becoming short tempered. I snap at simple requests from my family and feel frazzled and overwhelmed. Filling every available hour with tasks that need completing and never having any down time is something that can only be done for a short period of time before it all gets too much and something snaps.

Work– It can be easy to become the person at work who solves everyone’s problems for them. To begin with it can feel nice to be needed and to be able to help others but after a while it can be a real drain on all of our resources. There is nothing more frustrating than having spent half the day solving another person’s problems, watching them go home and then having to turn around and start the work you neglected while you were helping them.

Often it is the inability to say no to requests by others that causes our insane workload. As mothers we find it really difficult to say no to our children, our husbands, our parents, our co-workers. We seem to be hard wired to try to look after everyone. Unfortunately the one person we are not able to look after when we do this is ourselves.

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