Does this sound familiar? You’ve just taken on several new clients, said “yes” to two holiday get-togethers on the same night, agreed to have a dinner party at your house, and said you would take care of a friends dog while they are traveling. Soon you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. While it’s great to feel wanted and included, sometimes the art of saying no can really lead to saying yes to a more relaxed, centered life. Here’s some tips on how to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

Ask yourself: what is essential?
When you have a good balance between your home life, work life, and social life, you feel better, are more centered, are grateful and content. So rather than saying yes to everything you may enjoy, ask yourself what things are essential or crucial to my happiness? Then let the other things go. Once you define your priorities, and then learn how to address requests as they come up, you’re halfway there.

Learn alternatives to saying yes
Speaking of those requests, you don’t have to say yes to everything asked of you because you think you need to be polite. Learn the alternatives to saying yes or no such as asking people to let you think about it first, or pre-empting a request before it happens. Plus this is always a good time to learn the gentle art of saying no...something that many of us struggle with.

Use your days off
You can’t take them with you, so you should definitely use those days off! Work can easily be the most stressful part of you life, and let’s face it, sometimes life gets in the way of work. Errands piling up? Exhausted from back to back appointments? Or maybe you just need a mental health day...don’t let accumulated PTO days go to waste. You’ll be much more productive in the end.

Delegate, especially at work
Remember the goal here is to create more time in your day, so don’t feel guilty suggesting other colleagues take on a new project or client. Delegation can be seen as giving the gift of empowerment, creating opportunity to make a new connection, or a chance to try a new skill. And always take the time to delegate well...brief your colleagues, and explain why you think they are the perfect person for the job. Connect the dots for them and it will be a win-win for everyone.