Just say no!

roadrunner in the back yard.
A roadrunner outside the casita window.

A headline caught my eye about saying no. ‘

Boost Your Mental Health by Saying ‘No’

If we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and meaningful, we need to prioritize. Declining requests is crucial.

This was in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, written by Elizabeth Bernstein.

Since we moved and things started opening up post COVID shutdowns, I find myself saying yes to everything. That’s because I lived through two years of doing nothing. As my life gets busier and busier, I long for quiet time alone to read or sit in the back yard listening to and watching the birds.

Recently, I said yes to writing the community’s newsletter. (I’m not sure that was a good idea.) I’ve said yes to book club and coffee club. I’ve said yes to neighbor’s invitations. I’ve joined the YMCA and go four times a week to swim and workout. We’ve had people over for wine and dinner. I can’t believe I’m missing the endless days of no plans. But I am.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“No” has never been an easy word to say, especially to the people we care about most. And after two years of pandemic life—with very few invites to decline—we may be even rustier than usual at delivering the bad news. et, many of us now are fielding more invites and requests than we have in years.

We’re eager to get back out there. We’re also burnt out on stress and schedules that often seem like all work and no fun. We know that if we want to rebuild lives that are more balanced and more meaningful we need to prioritize. Learning to decline requests will be crucial to this effort.

Think of saying no as the ultimate self-care strategy.

“If we just agree to everything mindlessly, we are not going to be able to come up with the priorities to take us where we want to go,” says Vanessa Bohns, an associate professor of organizational behavior at Cornell University.

We sometimes say yes simply because we’re uncomfortable saying no. We’re social beings—we want people to like us. We feel guilty if we let others down or hurt their feelings, especially our closest family and friends. They’re the ones who often want us to say yes the most—and who may experience our “no” as a rejection of them, rather than of the request.


Bernstein, the reporter, offers five tips for saying no which include not rushing, start with thank you and standing firm.

What are your thoughts about saying no? Does it come easy to you? Are you getting more invitations to do things outside the home? How do you feel about it?

Our resident cardinal I watch while Im writing in the casita.

20 thoughts on “Just say no!

  1. I just had this conversation with my daughter who is a devotee of the Shonda “just say yes”. I think you really have to weigh out every single request and your reasons for the yes or no. If its saying no to something because it’s new or different, I think you should say Yes. If you know for sure you don’t like the thing, say no.

  2. If someone is truly interested in an invite, then say yes but realize there is no need to make a long term commitment. Socially we have a fear of saying no- if we do it too much then we will be isolating ourselves from others and possibly face being left out and alone. I have a really hard time, especially now being retired, being told from society that I need to be “doing something” all the time. There is a social stigma that devalues people and finds them lacking in goals and purpose if they are content to live life at their own pace and in their own way. It’s more than okay to say no to social conformity and be whoever you want to be.

  3. I totally agree, I’ve said yes to a few too many things lately! Just like you, after the restrictions let up I was ready to fly. Now a nice landing sounds splendid, listening to birds, reading a book. Great reminder to prioritize our “yeses” xxoo, C

Leave a Reply