Opening the Doors to Healthier and Stress-Free Living
A Column by Alice Abbott-Moore,
Content Access/Information Delivery Teams, Ekstrom Library

Just Say No!

"So, what part of "No" do you not understand?" –anon.

As we are gearing up for a brand new school year, now is the time when schedules begin to get busier and more hectic. This pace doesn't seem to slow down until a holiday or two has passed. (Holidays of course have their own stress factor.) In the fall the requests for joining activities and groups begin. There is one word you may want to learn if you haven't learned it already: "NO." While it is flattering to be invited to participate in activities and groups, do remember to consider how much you realistically can give. Do note that overbooking your schedule will cause stress which may cause health problems for you.

Old Activities
Sometimes we would like to participate in all of the activities offered to us, but sometimes we may want to drop an activity that we have done for quite some time. Perhaps a change is in order.

Here are some indicators of how an activity may not be as enjoyable as it once was:

  1. Restlessness—mind may not be focusing on the subject matter.
  2. Lack of intellectual and/or physical stimulation.
  3. Feelings of resentment: "Why am I here if I could be doing something else?"
  4. Resentment toward others involved in the same activity.
  5. Sheer and utter boredom.
  6. Mental and/or physical fatigue.
  7. Attitude during activity and/or when referring others about said activity.

Life is too short to do things that one does not have to do. Free time is at a premium for most of us. Granted, most of us must work for a living, have families to attend to and have other important obligations. Ideally, we should have more control as to what we do with our free time. So, what we do during our free time should be something we enjoy rather than something we loathe or feel indifferent towards.

Even enjoyable activities require energy, but activities that are no longer enjoyable require even more. Why waste precious energy? So many things in day-to-day life sap us of our energy. We need to be energized rather than de-energized.

Here are a few reasons why people continue to attend and take part in activities that no longer interest them:

  1. Sense of guilt about leaving.
  2. The activity has become a habit over the years—it is familiar.
  3. The person may have a certain skill/talent that is particularly requested by the group.
  4. Peer pressure.
  5. Family pressure.
  6. Perceived notions of benefits and/or status.

So, do yourself a big favor. If you don't enjoy an activity, let it go! You will be happier finding something else. There are many activities and events to explore and enjoy! When opportunities for activities and groups occur and you do not want to participate in certain ones, just say "No."

New Activities:
The world today has many opportunities for personal growth. So, there may be some new activities you would like to try out. Explore, explore, and explore! You may really find something that gives you a lot of joy. You will also find that you will have more energy and more energy means you will be able to get more things done efficiently.

Rediscover old loves and talents
Have memories of things you enjoyed doing as a child? Maybe there is an activity/hobby you would like to take up again. Did you belong to other groups that you remember fondly? Maybe you should check them out again. Maybe there are activities and groups that you have never explored—just check them out. Sometimes money is a problem, but many activities require little or no investment of money.

I urge you to explore. Just remember one thing: Let your spirit soar.

Authors note: Learning to say "No" can be applied to almost anything in life: besides applying it to activities and groups, it's a wonderful tool when dealing with magazine subscriptions, pushy people, telephone and door-to-door solicitors, moochers, etc.