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Saying "no" to common tasks

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I work a job that has become too physical for me. As the years have gone on, the physical pain has increased in my arms and hands. Since I work alone, I can't figure out how to say "no" to some of the jobs that are now my responsibility. I was hired to do the bookkeeping, and it has continued to get more physical over the years. I was just realizing that I don't know how to say "no" to anyone that needs my help. Even out of work, I quickly say "sure, I'll help" when anyone asks me for assistance. Is this something that I learned as a child? I just can't seem to put myself and my physical feelings first. Comments? Has anyone else had this problem? Did I learn this when I was being abused as a child?
Spend time with Russians!!! 😁
Or the Japanese, for an opposite perspective. 😎

At least that’s how I did it / how I learn best… from being in environments where such a thing is both normal & expected.

- Russians taught me that both yes & no are entirely neutral. Neither is positive or negative, in & of themselves. (As opposed to being in the US where saying “no” is often taken so far as to be fighting words / a character attack / or an insult at best. And if one does desire to say no? There is a complicated verbal dance, and submission/dominance display involved, except for in certain subcultures.)

- Spending half my childhood in Japan? Taught me 10 zillion ways to say “no” whilst NEVER actually saying “no”. (Yes, there is a word for it in Japanese. Only gaijin really use it. Personally, I only ever use it as a command for my dogs. There IS, however, a tremendous spectrum in how politely or rudely one wishes to express the idea of no. One of my favorites happens to be “I will consider it, for an eternity.” Which is an enormously dismissive f*ck you.).

Failing cultural immersion to normalize where you want to be?

Cheat. Sheet.

Come up with a dozen different ways to say no, without actually saying no. The more honest the better. From “I wish I could, but” to “I’m not sure that’s possible at this time, with my ABC, but it sounds exciting/clever/smart/useful/important/whatever-adj-best-fits” to “Oh! I’d love to, but I couldn’t undertake it myself, let me get you in touch with…”
I was just realizing that I don't know how to say "no" to anyone that needs my help. Even out of work, I quickly say "sure, I'll help" when anyone asks me for assistance.
I use a middle ground between yes and no:
Can I get back to you?
I’m really busy right now, I can maybe help tomorrow/next week.
Can you send me an email about it?
I might be able to, I just have to finish this first.

Get creative!

For me, this is a healthy boundaries issue and needs assertive communication. Buying myself some time in the moment gives me a better chance of using communication skills to assert healthier boundaries.
I never used to say no to anything anyone asked me to do. As I've gotten older, I have started doing it on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, what I'm discovering is that I never really ever did anything *I* wanted to do, only what other people wanted.

Saying no does one very important for me these days--it decreases my anxiety and gives me back some control in my life. I highly recommend it.
Another thing to do, is practice saying "no" where the stakes are less high. Say no at a restaurant or to someone in your life where it doesn't really matter. It is still really hard for me to say "no"
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