How to say No.

As women, we are always busy. There’s always something that needs to be done, whether that’s taking a child to an after school club, putting the washing on or sorting out the house insurance. We are great at multitasking, but there comes a point where there’s just too much to do. This is the point at which you need to start saying NO. It might be no to a playdate or extra hours at work or even to a night out.

However, it can be really hard to say no, especially when it’s to a loved one or a close friend. That’s when the guilt creeps in – ‘will they be cross with me for saying no?’ or ‘will my child think I don’t love them?’ Actually, it can be worse for you if you do say yes. Yet another activity or task to think about or plan for, taking time away from looking after yourself.


It can be hard to begin with, but you can work up to being capable of saying no, and once you start you won’t be able to stop! The first stage is to take some time to reflect on the following points:

• Accept that whilst you would like to be Super Woman, you cannot do everything and still have time for enough self-care

• Understand that you’re not being selfish. Reflect on how many things you say yes to on a daily basis, or do without even being asked. We take care of everyone, we are not selfish. Fact.

• If there are specific people you need to say no to, think about what would happen if you did say no. Would it really be the end of the world if they stopped talking to you for a bit?

Reflection is key, as this will keep you focused and in the right mindset, and ensure your needs are front of mind. This more conscious state will help you navigate any guilty feelings that may arise. Making space for you will give you added confidence in the decisions you take.

Easy techniques

A great strategy to draw upon, is to use the “no, however…” technique. You can say no, and offer an alternative. For example, if you’re asked by a friend to go on a playdate and you really can’t face it, offer an alternative date in the future or the name of someone else who may be available. That way you are maintaining your relationship with your friend but you’ve said the all-important no.

The more you reflect first, and make a conscious choice whether you will accept another to do, the easier it will become to think of your needs first, before blindly saying yes to everything. It can help to write things down (or store on your phone), so you can revisit and remind yourself that you can do it! More often than not, the response to your ‘no’ is never as bad as you imagine.

It takes practice but you’ll feel so much better for it!