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Weekly Doses of Pop-up Psych

We all make cringey mistakes and deserve to move on, rather than feel confused or regretful after an icky social situation. Each week, I will dissect a murky social, life cycle, or pop culture topic to help you understand, learn, and move on. As a former academic, I am a super-picky consumer of research (and you should be too) as well as the content I create and share, so those new solutions, data and/or additional resources have certainly met my approval.

Empowering Self-Care: The Art of Saying No During the Holidays

How often does this happen to you?  You responded “yes” to an event that you were lukewarm about attending. On the day of, you completely regretted it and wanted to cancel. If you can relate,  you are in good company, since about 50% of us struggle with saying no. Whether it’s because a better invite came along or you are having one of those nights you need to yourself, you would just rather not go. If you force yourself to attend, how much are you honoring your personal self-care?


Most of us consider ourselves to be busy enough with our lives between January and Thanksgiving. Then, the holiday season kicks in full throttle with lists, shopping, gifting, cooking, visiting, traveling, communicating, and meeting end-of-year deadlines. Pew found that 60% of adults admitted to feeling too busy to enjoy life. Plus, the holiday season brings a menagerie of stressors and triggers like grief, family dynamics, financial worries, and high expectations. Thus, we need to check in with ourselves to ensure we are practicing self -care.


What is self-care?

Self-care is our small daily rituals that keep us going. Self-care practices vary per person. Saying “no” to do what we need to do for ourselves, as opposed to showing up as a form of people-pleasing, is the ultimate practice of self-care.


Setting boundaries is never easy, especially when people persist and don’t really respect them. Realize you probably won’t be missed at the party. If it’s an open house type of party, nobody will notice you are not there. You are one less person milling around. There are so many other people to distract them. Sit-down situations are tougher since your absence will be seen and felt when there is a place set at a table for you. Here are gentle and graceful ways to say “no”. 


Say no without saying no by rescheduling quality time after the holidays


January is gray and quiet, so everyone needs to look forward to something. If you need to skip the party or break plans, find time after the holidays when everybody is less distracted. You are not blowing off anybody, just fitting it in when it might work better. The visit or date will probably be more meaningful.


Say no without saying no by helping someone in a way that works for you


People pleasing is always a great habit to break. We are asked to do stuff that might not work for us-too expensive, time consuming, or not within our skill set. Maybe you're not doing it their way, but offer to help in a way that’s more comfortable and realistic for you.


Say no without saying no by ditching gifts


True friendship, love, and quality time together is free.  If giving gifts seems too stressful, then stop doing it. There is no rule that says you can’t give all year long.


Saying no without saying no by being honest


Always communicate, rather than ghost. A text or phone call stating that, “I can’t make it to the party tonight, but will follow up with you to make other plans.” People who really love you will understand your absence, even though they miss you, whereas people who care more about their own agenda than your well being will have a rude reaction. 


Let's Check in With You


Where do you need to carve out time for self-care during this time of year? What are your holiday stressors? How can you be more respectful of other people’s boundaries and space?

Hi Beautiful Readers and thank you for reading this! I'm Dr. Joanne Broder, Media Psychologist, Author, and Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Please consider me to help you write your memoir, blogs, speeches, e-books, as well as coach you on your dissertation or thesis.  Click here so we can connect!

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