Active and Healthy Living : The Gift of “No”

Active and Healthy Living : The Gift of “No”

By Lee-Ann Cudmore, Registered Acupuncturist
This holiday season I want to give you permission to give yourself, the gift of “No”.  Just think that one over for a few minutes. Right now I am flying somewhere between Philadelphia and New York, for work, and writing this article. The idea has been brewing in my mind for quite a while and I am excited to start the conversation. It needs to be said out loud because people are admitting it in whispers, but the signs are there written on  faces; that awful struggle to have it all, do it all, provide it all. Friends, it is OK to say no. It is time to stop wearing the idea of “busy” like it is a badge of honour. Let’s call it what it is, burn-out.

The other night I tried a new recipe, Guinness Braised Beef. Delicious. I am not a foodie or a cook. In all honesty, it is something Parker, my husband really excels at. I, on the other hand, can make a great soup, or a roasted chicken and salad, that is about the scope of my ability. So anyway, “Guinness Meat” as my kids called it, required some new skills. First off, I had to look up “Dutch Oven”, which I was slightly scared to put into Google. It said on Wikipedia that it translated into “casserole dish”. So I placed my Paderno roasting dish on the burner, popped in several teaspoons of butter, and then the chunks of beef. At the point where it was starting to smell quite good, it all went wrong. There was a cracking sound followed quickly by flames. Now I’ve had flames before, but these were serious, catch-your-kitchen-on-fire flames. I grabbed the fire extinguisher and Parker had the dish covered and controlled just before I let the fire extinguisher rip. A second attempt with a deep frying pan, made a delicious Instagram worthy meal.

Where I’m going with this is two-fold: when life throws you a curve ball or a full throttle flaming crisis, know where your fire extinguisher is and also have  an exit plan. Metaphorically, and literally how  will you get out of the burning kitchen? Know who you will contact: a friend/partner/parent that you can count on, to throw the lid onto your dish. It also helps if you have someone to keep you in check, someone that will let you know that you are approaching kitchen-fire status.

We, collectively as a family have been approaching  burn-out over the last year. There has been too much: too much rushing, too much go-go-go. So we have adopted the word “no”. No commitments, no schedule, no nothing, especially on the weekends. It is liberating and wonderful.  Work and school  is busy. But life is not. We have chosen this for ourselves and our children.  We have leisurely breakfasts on the weekends, coffee by the fire, picnics in the tree house, and the kids play – play uninterrupted with their toys, they have long baths, they jam in the music room, they play outdoors. “No” was the best and healthiest decision we could have made for our family. Amid a pretty rough year, I am feeling more settled, happy, and organized. I am saying “no”, so that I can say “yes” to my family.

Give yourself permission to say “no” when you need to. It is OK to have a week, a month, or a year to let everything else just wait, and when you are ready, say “yes” again.

This article is not a fire safety piece. For more information on Fire Safety please refer to your local fire department or a reputable website: