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47317093_MIf you’re a people-pleaser, there might be something eating away at your wellness—the inability to say no. When you say yes to everything, it leaves you very little time for sleep, exercise, and good nutrition, three essentials for a healthy body. Plus, taking on too much leaves you with very little “me time” and a lot of stress, which can be detrimental to your health and create even more problems.

So, how do you learn to say no? Start by recognizing that saying no is an important way to maintain your overall health. Next, get familiar with your calendar and to-do list for the week, and be strict about how many things you can reasonably manage before it jeopardizes your health. Can you fit in two social encounters this week? Then do your best to limit yourself to just that.

Also, schedule time for exercise, sleep, and “me time.” Put it on your calendar right now! That way, you know exactly how much time you actually have available.

Saying no doesn’t mean you’re being selfish or thoughtless. You can still care about others and say no in a careful way. For example, if a friend invites you to a party and you’re overbooked on social time for the week, simply say, “Thank you so much for thinking of me; unfortunately, I’m unavailable, and I hope you have an amazing time.” It’s really that simple. You don’t have to explain what you’re doing or elaborate in any way. Just a simple, thanks for the invite, but I can’t make it will suffice.

Similarly, if someone needs help, and you want to help, but you just have too much on your plate, consider suggesting someone else you think might be available and willing to assist them. For example, let’s say you get asked if you can drive someone to the mechanic, but you have to get a project done. Try to think of someone else you know who might be willing to help instead. Or simply say, “I’m sorry, I’m not available at that time. Do you think another family member or friend could help you out that day?” Consider ways you can be caring and courteous without having to give up all of your time.

If you’re a people-pleaser, you might avoid saying no as much as possible. But you don’t have to dread it. In fact, sometimes saying no is good for your health. Just take a few steps, check your calendar for the week, and be aware of and respect how much time you have available. If you have to say no, say it with grace.