While 50 is the prime of your life, with years and years of wisdom and life experience behind you to help you avoid those silly ol’ mistakes, saying no is still major challenge. Research from the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression Anyone who suffers from the stress that comes from over commitment can get help themselves by following these simple strategies for saying no.
On the other hand, saying no might be one of the healthiest decisions you can make in your fifties. That’s because your physical and mental health is directly correlated to the activities and tasks you sign up for. All of us are given 24 hours in a day and we need to choose wisely.
So how do we learn to say NO with grace?
Learn To Be Selfless
We need to be selfish! No one else is living our lives for us. Cliche as it is, you can’t pour from an empty cup. At age 50, most likely you’ve spent a good amount of your life caring for other people. Whether it’s your spouse, your children, or your friends, your needs probably come last at least most of the time. Every now and then, be a little selfish. Spend extra money on a new outfit for yourself; book a solo vacation to that exotic island you’ve always dreamed of. This time is your time.
Be Firm — don’t be overly apologetic or speak hesitantly
Learning how to say “No” will actually drastically decrease how often you “flake,” because you won’t commit to things you ultimately bail on. Make no mistake about it, no is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield. When it’s time to say no, you need to avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Using limp phrases instead of saying no will often be considered a yes. When it’s time to say no, just say no!
Just because you can help doesn’t mean you should
If you feel equipped to help emotionally and energetically, and doing so alleviates the pain of seeing someone else in need, do! But if you’re feeling burnt out and pressured or guilted into helping, chances are you need to take that time to look after you. Those of us who are habitual “Yessers” tend to agree before we’ve really looked inside and asked ourselves if we actually want to do whatever is requested.
Sleep on it
Even if you feel like saying yes, ask for a day to think about it before providing an answer. It’s going to be much easier to say no once you’ve had time to consider all of your commitments and whether the item in question is a realistic addition to your schedule. This will also give you a chance to come up with the best way to say no.
“You’re having a party? I’ll definitely be there.”
No you won’t. You’re just being nice. But here’s the great thing about being 50. FOMO doesn’t exist for you anymore. There’s no fear of missing out, just an unapologetic resolve about missing out. So you don’t have to pretend that you’re coming to the party just to cancel at the last minute. Just politely decline and move on.