Archive for the ‘Boundaries’ Tag

Reducing Holiday Stress: Say “No” to Get to “Yes,” Plus 2 Days Left   Leave a comment

Dear Friends,

Do you find it easy to say “Yes,” to others’ requests, but hard to say “Yes” to yourself?

Do you have a vision or intention for how to spend your holidays, but get hijacked by requests that you have a hard time saying “No” to?

The holidays can be a time of joy and cheer, as well as elicit feelings of stress and pressure.

While we may enjoy all that the holidays offer as we attend parties and other events; decorate our homes; shop for special gifts; visit friends and travel to see relatives and; make our favorite holiday recipes, among other festivities, we can also feel stretched and experience a strain on our time, energy, and financial reserves.

We may rationalize our decision to forgo our own needs, because we don’t want to offend our friends and family members, or risk disapproval from those we love or value.

But saying “No” provides an opportunity for others to grow, and care for themselves, and respect your personal needs.

Here are seven tips, and related questions, to help you gain clarity and take care of yourself this holiday season:

1. Take Inventory

– When are you saying “Yes” when you would rather say “No?”

– Are there particular circumstances or people who present a challenge?

2.  Be Mindful

– How does it feel in your body when you say “Yes” instead of “No?”

– Pay attention to stress and tension.

3.  Is what you fear will happen really true?

– How do you know?

– Is what you’re afraid of happening absolutely true?

– Regardless of what has happened in the past, this is a new moment.

– How can you take care of yourself if what you’re afraid of actually happens?

4.  What is saying “Yes” costing you?

– Are you tired and forfeiting rest?

– Do you have the financial resources to travel or buy expensive presents?

– Do you want to attend the events you’ve been invited to, or go out of obligation and later feel angry or resentful?

– What other costs might there be?

5.  Are you willing to pay the price?

– If you’re answer is “Yes,” do so with awareness. What will the payoffs be?

– If your answer is “No,” what could you do instead” (See #6 below)

6.  Saying “No” takes practice

– If you’re feeling nervous about expressing yourself, you may find it helpful to write down what it is you want to say.

– Then practice with a friend, a coach, or even in the mirror!

7.  Moving Forward

– What qualities do you need to grow inside yourself in order to feel comfortable setting healthy boundaries?

– Reflect on a time you were presented with a challenge and took care of yourself by setting a healthy boundary.

– Notice how the positive sensations feel in your body, and let the feelings flow through you.

– You can also think about how you felt – perhaps you felt a sense of confidence, or felt secure or empowered.

– Let the good feelings soak in as you stay with the experience for five to 20 seconds.

As always, I would love to hear from you.

With love,


If you found today’s post helpful, please comment and share.








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Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, Workshop Facilitator, and author with more than 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams, and create healthier, happier, more fulfilling lives.  


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Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) Just Say “No”   Leave a comment

“Although it may feel uncomfortable to think about saying no, it’s important to remember that each time you say yes to someone, or something else, you say no to you and your priorities.” – Oprah Winfrey

We want to be kind. We want to be loved. We want to give because it feels good, and we want to be generous with our gifts, talents, abilities and time. But how often do we say “yes” to requests from friends, colleagues, family members, and others, when we know, within our heart of hearts, that it means taking time away from caring for ourselves?

Saying “no” can conjure up feelings of guilt and shame, because we may think it’s self-centered, and be afraid that others may judge us. But people learn how to treat us by how we treat ourselves.

Giving and receiving is an art of balance. But how can we achieve it? Change begins with awareness. Are you aware of how often you say “yes” when you would rather say “no?” The answer may surprise you!


This week, make not of how many times you say “yes,” when you would rather say “no.”

Keep a record in a small notebook or make a list on your phone.

Notice how you feel when you say “yes” to something you don’t want to do.

Do you feel resentful, angry, frustrated, stressed, or exhausted?

Your body is giving you clues!

At the end of the week, add up the number of entries in your notebook.

Then,  make a list of five things you would like to say “no” to.

Start with something small.

You don’t need to explain or justify yourself.

Don’t know what to say?

Here’s a rule of thumb you can follow:

Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don’t say it mean.

Learning to say “no” takes practice. But you can learn how to say it.

The more you practice, the easier it will become.

You will feel better, and while some relationships may fall away, others will deepen and grow.

As always, I would love to hear your comments about how this week’s TNT worked for you and what it is you discovered.

With love, Theresa

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Theresa Conti is a Certified Life Coach, Reconnective Healing® Practitioner, and Workshop Facilitator with more than 25 years experience. Theresa specializes in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams and create happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.



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Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool) The Art of Caring   Leave a comment


Having spent seven years caring for my elderly father, I used to think caregiving was a term explicity used when caring for an elderly or ailing family member. However, my concept of caregiving began to change when a friend called me to task and proclaimed that as a mom, she was a caregiver, too.  Her comment got me thinking.

I have since realized that caregiving takes many forms and spans across multiple professions, including those who care for our health, well-being and communities: therapists, doctors, healthcare providers, healers, aids, coaches, police officers, fire fighters, and members of our armed forces, among others.

This week’s TNT provides practical tips for anyone involved in the art of caring.

Theresa’s TNT (Tip ‘N Tool): The Art of Caring


As a caregiver, you may find the balance between caring for the needs of your loved one and yourself difficult. You may wrestle with guilt, remorse, anger, frustration, and resentment, and then judge or berate yourself for feeling that way.  And over the long haul, your own health and well-being may suffer. Having been my father’s primary caregiver, and coached many a client and friend, I speak from personal experience. There are several things you can do, however, to maintain (or regain!) your sense of balance.

The following tips will help to nourish your body, mind and soul, and in the process, serve to prevent burnout.

* Take a breath break!

Although breathing is involuntary, and something we inherently do, we often create physical and emotional tension by unconsciously holding our breath when under stress. (Can you relate?) This disrupts our biochemistry, prevents oxygen from nourishing the cells, and builds toxins in the body. The simple act of breathing will improve your health, reduce anxiety, and help you respond, rather than react, when in crises or feeling under duress.

To implement, simply stop at various times throughout the day to tune in to your body and notice your breathing.  If you are holding your breath, stop what you are doing and take a moment to consciously breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. As your breathe in, notice the air as it touches your  nostrils. Repeat two more times, then notice any changes you may feel (more relaxed for instance, or a release of tension). Set the alarm on your phone or other device to check again in 30 minutes. It’s as simple as that!  Applied often enough, it will become a habit.

* Get inspired!

I get it. We’re all busy. But inspiration rocks! And surely, you can find 10-minutes (ok, five will do for starters) to nourish your spirit and prepare for the day. Read something you love, stop to smell a flower or admire something beautiful on the way to work, sing, dance or listen to music. There are 1440 minutes in a day. You can rest assured you’re entitled to at leat five of them!

Inspiration feeds the body, mind, and soul and releases endorphins that will energize and strengthen you.  Not only that, your self-esteem will get a face lift to boot, and you’ll be better able to maintain your sense of optimism and creativity. Important components in the art of self-care and balance.

* Make a date!

Thank Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way for this one.

Take time for yourself once week to go on a dream date. If you need to start slow, even an hour or two will do much to improve your mood, enhance your health and enrich your relationships. Get your nails done, visit your favorite museum, or take yourself out to lunch. In other words – take some time out to enjoy and replenish yourself!

Don’t think you have time? Or financial resources? I can dig it. Sit and make a list of all the things you like to do that are low-cost or free. Then, block the time out in your calendar, as you would a “real” date and do it! You are important!

(Tip: If you like museums, check to see if the ones in your community offer a free or “pay as you wish” day. Many local colleges also offer low cost, fun programs.)

* Set boundaries

We all overextend ourselves at one point in time or another. After all, our nature is to give. The problem occurs when we overextend ourselves on a regular basis, and our giving becomes hazardous to our sense of well-being.

For instance, you’ve likely heard the story (true or not) about the mother whose child gets lodged under a car after being run over by a distracted driver. Frightened for her child, she digs deep within herself and finds the strength to lift the car in order to save him. That’s an awesome feat! But if it happened everyday, once a week or even once a month, she would either be a superwoman or burn out from exhaustion. The same holds true when you are consistently stretched beyond the limits of what you can naturally give, with no relief to help or support you.

We want to give our best.  We love the people to whom we give care. And let’s face it, it’s sometimes hard to say no. We don’t want to disappoint or may fear disapproval. Or, on the other hand, we may be afraid to give up control (guilty!) because we believe that we can do whatever needs to be done better than anyone else. Well, that might be true, but it’s equally true that there are extremely capable people who would be willing and able to help – with or without a fee – if you allow yourself to ask them.

Maintaining a sense of balance requires that you are clear with yourself and others about what you can and cannot do. For instance, while caring for my elderly father, I would often feel remorse because he spent so much time alone, and I was concerned that he didn’t have enough stimulation or company. It was neither healthy nor possible for me to be the only one to visit him, so I did a little research and found a community organization that offered a free home visitation program– and voila!  The organization set up weekly visits and provided a host of other services that we hadn’t even inquired about.

It may take a little ingenuity, but if I was able to do it, you could do it, too! Asking for support doesn’t make you weak – rather it demonstrates your strength and courage.

Family members, friends, neighbors, churches and community organizations are there to help. One important caveat: Don’t get attached to who (or who does not!) respond. Sometimes, the help you need will come from the most unlikely places! Be open and willing to receive it.

* Have fun!

Along with keeping your weekly dates, make sure you plan to have a little fun on a regular basis. Having fun invigorates, inspires, increases the endorphins that lift our spirits and keeps us feeling strong and healthy. In his book, Anatomy of an Illness, Norman Cousins talks about healing himself from cancer by, among other things, watching episodes of The Three Stooges. Laughter heals. It’s also good for circulation and stimulates the body’s organs. (Ever hear of Laughing Yoga?)

* Connect with Others

Coffee with a friend or a chat on the phone can be medicine for the soul.  Why not sweeten your live with a little natural sugar!

As always, I would love to hear your comments!

Theresa Conti is a Reconnective Healing™ Practitioner, CertifiedLife Coach and Workshop Presenter, specializing in helping her clients manage their stress, realize their dreams and live happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives. For more information, or to be placed on Theresa’s mailing list, please visit her website at, email her at or call her directly at 917-478-1722.

Copying (C) 2016 Theresa Conti.  All rights reserved.


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