The Sleep Guru: Stress? Just Say No

Anandi - The Sleep Guru

The Sleep Guru shares some wise words with Healing Holidays on controlling stress levels, juggling several elements in your life, and not wanting to let anyone down by saying 'no'. 

There are probably things in our lives from which we could unburden ourselves.

- Mattheu Ricard

What could you let go of in your life, right now?  Ok, let me put it another way: what is taking up most of your time, most of your energy, most of your attention? I’m willing to bet that whether it’s one big thing, or a few small ones, you’re beginning to dislike it.

We all, myself included, are guilty of doing too much. We say yes to too many things we would rather not bother with; we commit ourselves to things that we know will probably take far too much time and energy without really thinking of the consequences. And what happens? A few days or weeks in, and we’re sitting there, head in hands, thinking we would gladly trade a limb for some breathing space.

Are you feeling overwhelmed right now? Perhaps with it being Summer Holidays, you’re trying to juggle work and childcare? Perhaps you’re the poor soul stuck at work covering while everyone else has time off with their children?

We’ve all heard the saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” - it doesn’t just make us dull though; it can slowly and quietly wreak havoc on our lives.


How much are you burdened with?

We might not necessarily recognise that we’ve become too busy and over-extended. What starts out as just doing one extra job here can then become an extra ten minutes there, a regular phone conversation there, a weekly email, a monthly meeting. The small bits and bobs we sign up for are nothing in themselves, but added together they can build up until we have no time to just be. Sometimes this is an unconscious thing, and we don’t even know anything is wrong more than just feeling “a bit off” until we start to feel stressed and uptight, and our sleep pattern starts to falter.

It is really easy to be so concerned with the wellbeing of those around us that we lack awareness of our own needs. We’re so busy pleasing others that we find we’re unable to take care of our own needs, and soon enough we’re in a situation we really need to remove ourselves from.

If you feel that you are in overwhelm, it can help to have a life audit.


Ask yourself - is your life in balance?

It can be really helpful to just take a few minutes to sit down and think: what do I really want and need in my life? How much space do you need to re-charge? Is your house always open to visitors? Are there boundaries in place? Are you always a people pleaser, saying yes to all that’s asked of you so as not to upset people?

Once you’ve thought about these things, and decided on what your needs are, you can become more conscious of what you commit to in future. Taking time for yourself when you need it is a lot less exciting and dramatic than ending up in crisis - and it’s also a lot less messy.

Try to have certain golden rules, about what you will or won’t do, or certain times that are yours and yours alone. And I’ll let you in on this fantastic secret I’ve learned, which can help you to free up loads of time and energy. It’s something a lot of people don’t know about, but it can be really helpful…it’s called saying NO! You don’t need to offend people by refusing their requests; there’s no need to be rude. Just say “I’m sorry, no.” Follow it with “I’m too busy” or “I need some time for myself” or whatever qualifying statement you like - as long as the NO is in there somewhere.

Be good to yourself.




Stress can become a dominating factor in our lives. Healing Holidays has the perfect collection of Stress Retreats from Europe to Asia. Speak to one of our wellness consultants on 020 7843 3597 or email


Read more: Top 5 Rejuvenating Retreats, The Benefits of Meditation for Stress Management

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