As we come into the silly season at the end of this year, we are all getting tired, even burnt out. After the last few years of lockdowns and missing out on events and catch ups, it feels like we need to make up for lost time! Kids are back to having birthday parties, dinners and drinks are happening every weekend and Christmas parties are back!
As we all rush through to the end of the year with never ending to-do lists and events on every weekend, it makes sense we are all exhausted! But what if you could change this? With one simple word.
Confronting, isn’t it? After feeling like we are missing out for such a long time, to say no and step back can feel hard. But life is a marathon, not a sprint. We don’t have to get everything done before Christmas. We don’t have to go to every event, or catch up with every person we have ever met. It is ok to say no thanks, and prioritise your own health and self care and do what you would like to be doing, not what you feel obligated to do.
We are social creatures designed to look after the pack, and put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own, even if it is to our own detriment. We get a big neurological reward from helping our peers; it causes a surge of rewarding happy hormones in our brain when we help and give to others. It is not the same when we make time to look after ourselves, often we feel guilty or selfish for putting ourselves ahead of others. Or we might feel like it will create conflict if we say no, so we agree, to go with the path of least resistance.
So this month, we are asking you to be selfish and put the guilt aside, and take time to look after yourself before others. At this time of the year, it can make a big difference, and we would like to challenge you to see what the end of the year could look like if you are not exhausted and scrambling for the finish line at New Year’s Eve.
How to say ‘no’
It can be very difficult to say no. Often we feel obligated, or are paying back a favour, or we can’t think of an excuse quick enough! I am here to tell you, there is no excuse needed. Everyone can understand if you say no, they are probably wishing they said no too! Honesty is the best policy in this situation. No, I don’t have the time. No, that is not a good idea for me to take on. No, I have other priorities.
The key is to be firm in turning the other person’s request down. Don’t say, ‘I can’t help out right now’, because this creates a time in the future where you might be able to contribute. Be assertive, but polite.
Some people may be a bit frustrated by a refusal, and that is ok, it says a lot more about them than you! But if you feel like you need to explain, you can take the time to say that you are trying to look after yourself and put your energy towards things you really enjoy. Or that you don’t think you could put in the time and effort required to do a good job.
It will feel awkward the first few times, and yes, you will feel a bit guilty and selfish at the time, remember, this is a hardwired response. Just focus on the end goal behind saying no, whether it is spending more time with your family, getting more sleep, or just not being exhausted and strung out!
You can’t pour from an empty cup
Saying no is just part of the puzzle. Once you have decided what you don’t have the energy or time for, it is time to find the things that you really enjoy. Find the things that energise you, fill you up and make you feel good. This might be self care activities, like a massage, a walk or crafting, family time, events you are actually looking forward to instead of dreading, a sleep in or a weekend away from screens and out in nature.Whatever it is, making time for yourself in this rush to the end of the year will make sure you aren’t ready to crash out at 9pm on NYE!
As much as we may have missed in the last few years, we are now headed back towards some kind of normal. This means we need to remember how to pace ourselves, and draw on some of the lessons from the last few years about how to slow down and switch off. Remembering when and how to say no to things that will not benefit you and may even be detrimental to your health and family. Don’t let your fear of missing out make you burn out.
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At Ballarat and District Chiropractic Center, we want you to be empowered when it comes your health. We want to help you by sharing all our knowledge about Chiropractic.