What is it OK to Say “No” to Over the Holidays?

Over the holidays there is so much going on that you can forget to take care of yourself. Keep in mind as this woman does, that it’s okay, and even refreshing to give yourself the gift of being able to say, “I need this”. She is now working on how to take care of her needs and shares why it is so important yet so difficult:

“What I realize now is that you have to be in control of your own destiny. I mean you’re going to waver but you need to know you always have a choice. I know that we, as women, we’re all guilty of downplaying our needs. You know the “I don’t need anything” We do! We do need things and to it is so refreshing to be able to stand up and say, ‘I do need this. You know what? I do have needs.’

I’ve never been good at that but it’s something I’m working on now that I wish I had worked on earlier. It only gets harder as you get older.  You have all these people in your lives… your husband, your kids, your work and even your friends. You think your responsibility is to keep them all happy – to keep your kids healthy, to be romantic with your husband or your boyfriend and to be there for your family.

And you want to. But inside you are asking, ‘What about me?’ and then you have the guilt of being selfish. When you have kids you have to lose a little. You just shift so much. But more and more I realize that if you don’t take care of your needs you aren’t going  to be able to take care of others.”

It can be particularly hard if you are the single woman in the family. Everyone else’s needs tend to overshadow yours. You are the one who travels, you are the who can be more flexible, of course, because you are a single entity. We all love our families and now is certainly the time to enjoy them. However, this women learned that the holidays can often bring out the fixer in her. She is working on learning to say NO when her happiness is compromised.

“Learning to say “no” sometimes allowed me to grow and release this pressure (self inflicted) that I could fix everyone, everything and every situation. I was continuously setting myself up for failure and disappointment.

Although no one sets out to achieve the role as “the fixer”, subconsciously it is a role that I took on. First was becoming aware of this and how much it impacted my life and then figure out how to incorporate my new self awareness without guilt (also self inflicted)

You cannot do everything, be everything, fix everything nor should one attempt this role. It becomes all consuming and carries over well beyond just your family to all relationships; friends, companions, work and life.”

Something to think about over the holidays. It’s a difficult balance to strike between selfless and selfish, especially at this time of year. I’d love to hear some women’s strategies on how they take care of themselves over the holidays.

Some women I’ve spoken with find taking a day to do volunteer work oddly gives them a selfish retreat …time away from the stress of the holidays to reflect on what they do appreciate in their lives. Others have told me that taking time out to go to the gym or go for a walk alone, against the teasing/ criticism of their family (can’t you let go of that over the holiday’s) keeps them sane. For young families, it’s the big step of celebrating the holidays on their own every now and then, whether it be saying, “No, we are having Santa Claus come down are own chimney this year” or doing their own Hanukkah dinner. What have you learned it is okay for you to say NO to over the holidays?


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