The silly summer season is officially here! And with the year we’ve had, those party invites, end-of-year events, and general holiday frivolities are likely going into overdrive. It’s a dilemma that’s all too familiar right now.
While it’s so nice to be able to see real live humans again, countless calendar dates can take their toll on our goals, our mental state, our wallets and our health. But here’s the secret: you don’t actually have to go to Aunt Mildred’s 11am Turkey Buffet, Bruce’s Arvo BBQ Bonanza and Betty’s Christmas-Birthday-Housewarming-Party-Feast all in the one day.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the season, remember that it’s okay to decline an invite or two so you can prioritise some you time. Here are some tips for saying no this holiday season:
‘No’ is an all-too-common bedfellow with ‘Sorry’. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
The trick here is to have a good think about your reasons you’re saying no more often this holiday season. Are you prioritising your mental and physical health right now? Do you have a blanket rule of one or two things per week / weekend? Do you just want to spend more nights at home with the kids/dog/partner/book you can’t put down?
If you explain why you’re saying no in a thoughtful and considerate way, there’s really nothing to be sorry about.
Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep
Saying yes to something upfront, only to cancel last minute, just makes for more inconvenience for the inviter and more stress-slash-guilt for you. If you have no intention of turning up, it’s better to say no from the get go.
Let them down easy
If you really struggle to say no off the bat, you can opt for a slightly softer approach. Start with a “That sounds like so much fun! I’ll just need to check my calendar and get back to you”. This gives you time to think about a thoughtful no to come back with the next day.
Suggest a one-on-one alternative
Keen to catch up with someone, but not so keen on doing it with 25 other people and an open bar? Why not suggest a one-on-one, outdoor alternative?
A walk through your suburb, a swim at the beach or a coffee in your local park will allow you some quality time with a mate, plus a little exercise and fresh air to boot. Better yet, these outdoor alternatives are (mostly) free!
Choose your boozing
A similar principal goes for boozing at the events you do say yes to. We often feel pressure from friends and family to ‘just have one’ at a celebration.
If you’re feeling like you need a night off, a firm “just water for me, thanks, I’m taking it easy this silly season” will usually work a treat. Others should respect your decision to put your health first.