Create more time for yourself: 5 Ways to say No more often

You know the feeling, you don’t want to say yes to another commitment or request from a loved one but you feel uncomfortable saying no. You can just about squeeze it into your day, and you can’t think of a concrete reason to say no…other than you’d love a little more time for yourself.

Time to take it easy after your yoga class, spend more time in the garden or snuggle up with a hot drink and catch up on your favourite youtube channel or podcast.

Overstretching ourselves can become such a habit that we don’t know how to stop but these simple tips can help you change that and find more time for yourself…

Be Honest
Let’s start with a little groundwork. Make a list - or take a minute or two - to think about the commitments that you’d love to remove from your schedule, don’t let logic intervene just scribble it all down. When you’re finished, highlight the top 3 that would make the biggest difference and make those the focus of your efforts to say no to.

Release Guilt
Saying no is usually followed by feelings of guilt, and a temptation to change your decision. But, wait…it’s not selfish to prioritise your own health and happiness. We don’t bring our best selves to any situation if we’d rather not be there and so sit with those feelings of guilt if you need to - they get less powerful the more your exercise your right to say no, I promise.

Change your Words
Hearing you say no will come as an unwelcome surprise to some people in your life, even those that love you the most. Try not to judge their reaction but stand firm in your decision to say no. It helps to have a few phrases to use when you want to gracefully decline or need more time to consider your options. Try these:

‘Let me think it over and I’ll get back to you next week’
‘Thank you for asking/thinking of me but I can’t make it this time’
‘It sounds like fun but I’m already over-committed that week’
‘I’d like to help but I need to check a few things first, I’ll get back to you’

Also, if you’re declining a request but will be doing something soon for the same person, remind them of that…‘I won’t be able to make that event but I’ll see you at the school fundraiser later in the week, won’t I?’

Be Clear
Have you ever agreed to something and then spent a week wondering how you were going to get out of it? Oh yes, we’ve all been there! And, if you’re like me then you’ve possibly used a last-minute fictional excuse once or twice too. It goes without saying that this isn’t conducive to happy relationships. Be honest from the beginning, say no clearly and save yourself the energy.

Let go of Obligations
You don’t have to fit your life around everyone else’s needs. It’s not your sole responsibility to keep everyone happy. Saying no can actually help others to grow, take responsibility and better equip them for any challenges that the future may bring.

It’s my hope that these simple tips help you to say no more often - and with grace - so that you can create a little more time to prioritise your own health and happiness.


Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.


  • Haley Cardwell

    Thank you for this posting this! I often over commit myself, sometimes to things that really aren’t important to me. The older I get the more I value my time at home. You are absolutely right about it’s not our responsibility to keep others happy! Why do I feel like I’m letting others down when I decline invites? I’d love to let go of the guilt so I may be more at peace with my own life.

  • Margaret Gill

    Hi Leanna, great topic this week, I said yes to two things last week and spent all week worrying about changing my mind when I should of said no first time🙈

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