The word no on the pavement with a pair of feet stood in front

Welcome to this week’s Thrive in Five – This blog is all about the art of saying no and why saying no every now and again can really help with your work-life balance or work-life blend as I prefer to call it, but also with your stress levels and your overall wellbeing. I think a lot of people who are chronically stressed, or suffer from burnout or risk of burnout, often have an issue saying no. And a lot of the pressures, external pressures that face us now; technology, busy lives, austere times also make it quite difficult sometimes for us to say no.

But it’s really important to do so, and I think it’s like anything, it’s like a muscle – You need to practise it, you need to train it.

My challenge to you is very quick and very simple:

Should I say no to something once a day?

It might be sugar in coffee or it might be staying late or taking on a piece of work that you know realistically you can’t complete without having to sacrifice family time. But the more you do it, the more you hear the word come out of your mouth, then you’ll see that the reaction is potentially nothing like you’d imagine.

For example, you may say no to something and the response you get is, “Okay, I guess it can wait,” or, “I’ll ask someone else,” or, “No worries. It isn’t that important anyway.” But challenge it. Just try saying no and practise it with the small things and then you can start putting it into practise with the bigger stuff when you’re a bit more confident and less fearful of the response.

But I guarantee to you if at the appropriate time you say no to something, you’re going to feel grateful to yourself that you’ve done it. You’ll feel more confident and emboldened because you’ve practised doing it and nothing bad really happened. And ultimately it will free up a little bit more head space and a bit more bandwidth to do things that you really want to do – and the impact on wellbeing is absolutely massive.

So that’s it from me this week, practise saying no to something once a day.

Start small, see how you feel and take it from there.

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