Saying No

saying no
Image by David Castillo Dominici at

I found the article “The People-Pleaser’s Guide to Saying No” this morning, and thought it was excellent.  It isn’t easy to say no, as I have written about before.  However, saying no is a necessary part of self-care – sometimes, the things people are of us are just too much to take on.

You might find yourself unable to do the things you need to do, because your time and energy is taken up elsewhere.  You might even find yourself resenting the person who asked you to do the task – and they may not even realise how much you have taken on and how you feel about it!

Saying yes can be very rewarding – the satisfaction in having a good interaction with someone, the joy of helping someone do something, the pride in an achievement.  However, when there isn’t a balance between your yeses and your noes, things can go very wrong.  It might not be just you that suffers – the article gives a good example of a man whose nearest and dearest were suffering because of his inability to say no!

The book “When I Say No, I feel Guilty” by Manuel Smith is a useful classic if you find you have difficulties in saying no.  After all, it isn’t just saying the words which is tough (yes, getting such a little word out can be really difficult!), but there is also potential fall-out to consider.

You may find that people react badly to a bald “no”, so the article linked above has some handy suggestions for ways to soften it and help things go a bit more smoothly.

Like anything, being comfortable saying no takes practice.  You may get it wrong or stumble several times – that’s okay!  Reasserting your boundaries may be tough for a while as the people around you get used to it – that’s okay too!

What changes might you see if you balanced your yeses and noes more?  Would you like to make those changes?

Taking yourself on a date

Taking yourself on a date
Image courtesy of Suriya Kankliang at

With Valentine’s Day approaching, shops and restaurants are full of images of couples – but if you don’t have anyone to spend Valentine’s Day with, you might feel a bit left out.  In that case, have you considered taking yourself on a date?

It might sound odd, but treating yourself to an indulgent trip out or a fancy meal might be just what you need to recharge your batteries and work on your relationship with yourself.

What do I mean by “relationship with yourself”?  What I mean is that you can end up spending so much time focussed on the external world – e.g. work, household matters – that you forget to meet your own needs and understand more about who you are.

Are you, for instance, someone who really loves going to the theatre?  If so, have you been lately?  If you haven’t, why not? What is holding you back from doing something that brings you joy – are your reasons realistic, or do you shy away from something that you see as “self-indulgent”?  Perhaps you think you don’t ‘deserve’ such a trip out?  Do you see yourself as worthy?

If you don’t have someone to treat you to these activities, it is easy to brush them aside.  Your might even find yourself saying, “It would be lovely if someone else took me there, but I would never do it myself…” – sound familiar?

It is often true that we treat our nearest and dearest much better than we treat ourselves, and need to be reminded to be our own best friend.  Taking yourself on a date, somewhere special, is a good step towards maintaining that friendship.

Have fun!

Goals and “To Do” lists

Last week’s blog post (New Year’s Resolutions and SMART goals) proved quite popular, so this post is a slight extension of that.  Goals and To Do lists are closely linked, and can be a source of satisfaction or strife!

Goals and to do lists
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Someone suggested that adding a goal to your list that you know you will definitely complete can be a great motivational tool.  I agree!  No matter how small the item, putting a tick beside it can be very satisfying – and if it is something you enjoyed doing, double win!  She suggested adding “drink a can of coke” to hers, as that is something she enjoys and knows she will do that week.  What might yours be?

As I have said before, self care is important – just as important as other must-do tasks.

However, To Do lists can cause problems.

  • Are there too many items on your list, so you feel overwhelmed?  Try adding a note of how long each task will take you – you may find you have 23 tasks, but they only add up to about 2 hours’ work?
  • Are you taking on too many tasks?  If so, it might be worth looking at why – do you find it difficult to delegate?
  • Do you have trouble getting started when confronted with a list?  Perhaps you know you don’t have time to do everything.  You might like to try arranging them differently – for example, in order of priority.

There are a number of apps and systems available online to help organise tasks, and plenty of discussion about how to make things better.  A pen and pad by the side of the bed might give you a chance to relax if you know something is written down, so you don’t have to hold it in your mind while trying to get to sleep.  A pretty set of stationery or a convenient app (especially for recurring tasks) might make things easier – choose what works for you!

Good luck!


If you feel overwhelmed, anxious or just don’t know where to start to make things better, I am here to help.  Please contact me.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a form of depression which appears over winter, affecting about 3% of people in the UK according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists.  It seems to be linked to a lower amount of sunlight, but it is not clear exactly how and why some people are affected more than others.  Some people have suggested that humans once hibernated, and this might be a cause!


SAD has many of the same symptoms as clinical depression – including persistent low mood, lethargy/sleepiness and a feeling of disconnection or lack of interest in activities you normally enjoy.  You may find you are sleeping and eating more (particularly carbohydrates), and being ill more often. It is also common to find it more difficult to think clearly or manage stress well.


If you think you have SAD, it is a good idea to see your GP in the first instance.


Your GP may offer you medication or lifestyle advice to ease symptoms.  Some people find that making sure to get as much natural sunlight as possible eases symptoms, or use daylight-simulating lightbulbs or light boxes at home.  Eating well, taking appropriate exercise and maintaining social links all seem to help.


As always, good self care can not only ease symptoms in themselves but also help you feel more in control.  It is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle but one that is often brushed aside – some people feel guilty or self-indulgent for prioritising it.  However, good self care not only helps us to feel better but it also means we are more able to help others.  Nurturing of yourself is just as important as (if not more important than) being able to nurture others!


Some people benefit from counselling to tackle SAD – if you would like to make an appointment with me for this, please contact me.


You might also seek advice from The Seasonal Affective Disorder Association or try the MoodGYM online CBT program.

Time for yourself

Do you make time for yourself?  It is very easy to rush around non-stop taking care of things that other people ask for – but is anyone doing that for you?

Taking time for yourself to refresh and recharge is a really valuable part of self-care.  It can be difficult to find the time, very difficult to ask others to help us make the time.  However, the only person who can make that time for you is you… and you are also the best person to stand up for your right to do that.

Saying “no” is not necessarily selfish or unkind – it can be a necessity.

After all – if you never say “no”, what is your “yes” worth?