It's one thing when you "make" your kids do things they don't like. It's part of your job to teach them that have obligations and commitments. And good for you for doing it. Kids are one thing, midlife another.
This year, if you don’t want to do the Christmas Lights tour, then don’t. If you’re feeling stressed running around the stores, in traffic and with crowds, stop it. If you really don’t like visiting that relative, don’t. OK, if it’s a relative that stresses you but you just have to visit, you can make an exception and go. I know there are still some people and things that are "must do" things. Maybe it's seeing an in-law that you don't like or who always gives you a hard time. Yes, you could say 'no' but then your spouse/partner would be upset. So you grit your teeth and go (that's when you practice tip#2 and mentally live in your happy place).
However even with that kind of obligation, you can modify the visit to make it a better fit. For example, you can shorten your time with that person or ask other people (the funny friend, the sister-in-law who agrees with you) to join you (and lessen the stress).
Here are five ways to say 'no' with class:
My schedule is up in the air. Let me think about it and I'll get back to you
Thanks for asking, but I'll pass this time
I promised my [sweetie/children/friend/neighbor] some quality time then
I made other plans for that day/time (and that other plan can be taking a relaxing bath)
It's not in my plan for this holiday but I'll let you know if something changes
Feeling guilty about saying 'no'? Just in case you need "permission": I'm giving you the "Victorious Woman Dispensation" to say ‘no’ to the things you really don’t want to do (and that also means the people you don’t want to see).
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