It’s OK to just say no!


It has taken me many years to learn something crucial about myself: I need a break.

I am a “joiner.” I join boards, committees, and volunteer.

The entire time I was a “stay at home” mom I actually held down two to three paying gigs. I love being “busy.”

I can go, go, go and talk, talk, talk to just about anyone, anywhere at anytime. Until I can’t.
Then I need a break. Literal downtime. Preferably with not a lot of talking.

I have come to learn that no matter how much I adore social interaction, after a certain point I am just all peopled out.


We as a society have taken busy to be the Holy Grail of achievement.

We work so hard to make the perfect homes, lives, relationships, and then hustle and bustle around so much, do we even enjoy them?

I used to make excuses for being a bookworm or couch potato. Now I claim these hobbies with pride.

Why? Primarily because being an extrovert (most of the time) is exhausting. It sounds counterproductive for me to say this.

I am a big believer in getting involved in parenting volunteerism, peer interaction, socializing and public service. It has taken me four decades to realize that I need to pencil in time to bow out.


My first bit of advice for fellow burnt out beings: stop saying yes to things you hate.

Well, hate may be a strong word.

Perhaps just stop doing the things that have become more habit than passion? In doing so perhaps you can step aside and let someone else step up?

“But I can’t,” you say. “They need me,” you insist.

This is true, but here’s a fact: there is almost always someone else. None of us are irreplaceable.

I stepped out of a once-loved position of 15 years and have never regretted it.

That organization now has benefit of my years of experience (and copious notes) as well as the benefit of my replacement who brings fresh ideas to the table.

You really can step down and the earth keeps right on spinning. Sometimes quitters do win.

Say no

Need help getting out of things? Remember that “no” is a complete sentence. Instead of saying, “sorry, I don’t have time,” try saying “that just can’t be a priority right now.”

Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. When it comes to joining and doing, if we don’t like how we’re spending our hours, we can choose differently.

I am not advocating that we drop out of everything.

I am simply suggesting that we are better to guard our energy and focus our gifts where they can be most useful rather than dabbling half-heartedly and with contempt to a dozen things we manage at a level of “sort of okay.”


We always think summer should be leisurely and lazy. Rarely, however, does it seem to go that way.

Too soon the air will cool and people will inevitably wonder where the time went. The truth?

Whether you are aware of the moments or too “busy” to care, the time will pass anyway.

You can either spend it creating the life you want or spend it living life you don’t want. The choice is yours.

Put you first

You always have time for the things you put first. The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.

The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling. You create Beauty with your behavior and your actions.

Sometimes I want to help organize events that serve great causes and make great strides.

Other times I just want to drink coffee, cuddle my dogs, create stuff and sleep. I have finally come to realize that this is perfectly okay too.

And don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

Guard your time fiercely. Be generous with it, but be intentional about it.

In the end, you really can do almost anything. You just cannot do everything.

You want to achieve balance, greater happiness, and focus on the relationships that matter in your life?

Instead of working on how to make ends meet, perhaps you should work on having fewer unnecessary ends.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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