Learning to Say No

There are always so many things going on… at work, at home, with friends. There are so many things to get done and not enough time or energy to do everything. I have struggled with saying no at work, but I made it my mission this year to work on saying no more often. Otherwise, it ends up being a never ending cycle of doing extra work, others know that I will do the work, and then when there is more work to be done, they come to me again.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve worked hard at saying no more often, and it helped me to not be so overwhelmed at work. I don’t say no without thinking, but I’m far more selective with what I say yes to. I try to focus my energies on things that align with my current position and that I feel will help to keep me focused on a few basic trajectories, and not make me diverge into other areas.

Now, I’ve switched my focus to saying no to myself, especially around the holidays. The holidays are always stressful because on top of all of the family/Christmas stuff, it is my daughter’s birthday, and it is my busiest time at work. I’ve come to find that I’m a better mom and better wife when I don’t overwhelm myself with feeling the need to do everything.

This year, I’ve decided to not stress about holiday stuff. Of course, there are some things that I prioritize, namely things that the kids will enjoy, like putting up the Christmas tree and the outdoor lights. However, I’m going to try my best to not feel guilty for not doing all of the Christmas activities that seem to be expected of mothers.

I’ve always felt like I was expected to get cute pictures of the kids printed up, write a letter telling far away friends and family what we’ve been up to, and mail it all out before Christmas (in addition to all the other holiday activities I always see everyone do on social media), but what I’ve come to realize is that very few people are going to care if I send them pictures in January or if I miss a year all together. And, everyone who really cares about me and my family will understand that my mental health is more important than getting everything done before Christmas.

So, I have gained a new perspective and I’m working on saying no to myself when I’m doing the things that I feel societal pressure to do, and say yes to more time with my family playing and less time feeling stressed.

Jill is a born and raised Wisconsinite. She grew up just outside of Madison before heading to northern Michigan for college. Afterwards, she returned to Madison where she married her high school sweetheart, Micah, and earned her PhD in Educational Psychology. Micah and Jill live just outside of Madison with their two children, Levi (5 years old), and Alice (3 years old), and they all love sports and being outside. When Jill isn't enjoying the local Madison parks and activities with her family, she loves to play board games, and relax at home with family and friends. Jill is a busy mom, an active member in her church, and enjoys her job as an Associate Professor of Psychology for a small liberal arts college.

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