Today’s bite-sized piece of wisdom that I wanted to share with you is in preparation for the holidays. Yes, yes, they are upon us and quite usually this is the time when people over committee themselves and over stretch themselves. In this post, I will share with you 5 steps that will help you manage Christmas commitments like a pro.
Let’s be honest, sometimes it is hard to say ‘no’ to something or someone. There are these feelings of guilt that are so easily evoked in us, or we simply might feel like we will miss out on something cool if we don’t attend that party. Sounds familiar?
I’ve certainly have been there. I would run around and attend all the social and family commitments only to find myself getting quite sick half way through the season.
I also felt that I wasn’t enjoying myself and people’s company because I wasn’t present in the moment since I was caught in the race of being everywhere.
Over the years, I have found a few strategies that have helped me to gain back control of the holiday season. With these tricks up my sleeve, my Christmas season is once again an enjoyable time of the year.
The first step here is to manage other people’s expectations.
My trick is to have a prepared answer in my mind. In this case, if I run into, for example, my friend Sophie, and she invites me to her annual Christmas party, I can say:
“Soph, that sounds like an awesome party. Thank you for inviting me. I would love to attend. Let me check my schedule to make sure I am available and get back to you if I can come. What’s the latest that date I can RSVP by?”
Ta-da. Here are a few things that I just did here. Let’s break it down.
1. First, I didn’t say ‘No.’ Therefore, I didn’t have to deal with immediate consequences of someone being disappointed in front of me or deal with the peer pressure or guilt-tripping.
2. Second, I didn’t say ‘Yes’. I left the possibilities open to decide for myself of how this new commitment fits into my schedule. Maybe I already have uncle’s Bob’s Christmas get together the day before and my work party the day after Sophie’s party? I now have time to review my schedule and decide on my priorities.
3. Third, by asking about the RSVP date, I am being respectful and courteous of other’s people plans and by responding by that date, I don’t leave them hanging in the lurch. It is especially important for smaller get-togethers or sit-down dinners where more careful planning for food and beverage is required.
4. Fourth, if I am invited to an event with my partner, this type of response gives me time to check with him if he wants and can attend this event. Instead of committing the two of us automatically, we can now talk and decide as a couple if we would like to go.
5. Fifth, by responding this way, I avoid doing two things:
a. Say ‘Yes’ and then don’t show up or cancel at the last minute – which creates feelings of guilt for me and resentment and frustration for others.
b. Say ‘No’ right away and then regret not taking the chance to go to the event.
I use this strategy with my friends, co-workers and even with family members. With especially ‘persvasive’ family members, I add on that I will try my best to attend their event and that they are a priority, but I stick with my answer that I have to make sure I am available.
Try this strategy for yourself and see how it works for you. But don’t stop here, check-out Christmas Commitments – Part 2 for more tips on how to manage holiday commitments!
Your Global Therapist,