“No Is a Complete Sentence”… Even During the Holidays

It’s the first Wednesday of December and what does that mean? That means it’s time for a Wellness Wednesday. And, hoo boy, do we all need to remember to focus on wellness during December. The holidays are (to quote a yoga instructor I had once) a very full time of year. There are demands on our time, finances, emotional energy… no wonder we might need a reminder to centre ourselves sometimes. Which brings me to the core, the thesis, the theme of this post. No is a complete sentence.

No is a complete sentence

Like, Grammatically?

Um…. the jury is out on that one. But I more so meant it symbolically. When have we ever cared about correct grammar on this blog?

So, What Does “No Is A Complete Sentence” Mean Symbolically?

It means that when you say no, that is enough. No justifications, qualifications, explanations, or questions needed. No saying “No, because” or “No, but”. No is enough because your reasons for saying no are enough and your boundaries matter.

Now, this is not a new concept, nor is it one that I came up with on my own. As far as I can tell, this concept originates from the book of the same name by Megan LeBoutillier. (Apologies for the Goodreads link… I think the book might be out of print?) I have most often heard and talked about “no” in relation to consent, but it is actually a powerful and positive tool that we can all stand to use a little bit more often.

Yes! “No” is Positive!

“No” means that you are prioritizing. “No” means that you are not overbooking yourself. When you avoid that, you can dedicate your whole self to the things that you choose to do. “No” means that you are able to show up as your best self when you show up. After all, 10% of 10 things is not 100% of anything. 

I know. You don’t believe me. Saying “no” feels yucky. We are brought up with a desire to be seen as kind and good. So, why wouldn’t we want to do everything we can to keep others seeing us that way? 

Well, I don’t know, y’all… because if we try to do everything, eventually we’re going to drop the ball on something and then someone is going to be let down. And that someone might be ourselves… but isn’t that worse?

Why This is Especially Important During the Holidays

I alluded to this in my opening paragraph. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that during the holidays we have more demands and less bandwidth to handle them. And, to be completely honest, some of these are things that we would really prefer not to do but we feel like we “have to” just because it’s the holidays. 

I am here to tell you, there is very little that you have to do… but now is the time to decide what you want to do. And, yes, it’s okay if you decide you want to do something only because it will make someone else happy and that will bring you joy. Just make sure you are deciding it mindfully and you are okay with saying no to other things in order to do this thing.

Thanks for the Pep Talk – Now Some Tactics?

Yes, tactics! Let’s get practical!

  1. Start with something small and safe – something you know the other person will genuinely be chill with not happening.
  2. If you need some time to be brave, shift the “no” to a “later”. You buy yourself some time and people are more likely to expect a no when it is on delay.
  3. Offer something else. Say you don’t want to go to a big holiday party, but you would love to see your friend who is hosting? Then offer to go for coffee with them in the new year when things have settled down. No is still a complete sentence in this case, you’re just adding an extra sentence with something you want.
  4. Practice it! Say no to the mirror. Say no when you’re driving to work. Think about situations that might come up and just run the response so it comes smoothly off the tongue when you’re asked for real.
  5. And maybe… just maybe… say no to yourself.

Say No To Yourself

I know. Say no to yourself. What?! Isn’t this whole post about wellness and supporting yourself?

Yeah girl. And sometimes saying “no” is supporting myself. 

“No, I won’t buy takeout.” (because I have only $57 until pay day after buying gifts I love for people I love, and I have food at home)

“No, I won’t fall into an Instagram spiral.” (because looking at other people’s “perfect lives” makes me feel sad)

“No, I won’t run 3 errands between work and my workout.” (because I’ll just be stressed out about making it to my workout on time and wasting money if I miss the class)

I added details for the purposes of this post to clarify how/why you might say no to yourself. But, hey, no is a complete sentence when you say it to yourself as well.

I need to know – what are you going to say “no” to this holiday season?

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