How to Deal With Holiday Stress: Manage Your Commitments

Dec 18, 2014 9:00:00 AM Stephanie Chandler-Simpson Gifts

holiday_stressHow many commitments (agreements, promises) have you made before ever arriving at work on a typical day?  With the holidays pressing on us our to do list keeps growing. We promise our spouses we'll be home "on time", our children that we will participate in their activities, the people in our networks that we'll meet, eat, etc. with them and that we'll complete several errands before coming home...THEN we arrive at work where there are another suite of promises we've made to our employer.  We are stressed, overwhelmed and generally in a bad mood knowing that we cannot keep every agreement that we've made.  We hope that the people we have broken our promises to won't notice or call us on them but internally feel "bad" about ourselves.

How do we stop the insanity?!  Learn to manage your commitments.  With the best will in the world, we cannot keep every promise 100% of the time. 

Here's how to deal with Holiday stress. First, you have to be conscious of what comes out of our mouth and that an instant "I can do that" is heard as a promise.  Do you ever stop long enough to ask yourself  "do I want to make this promise?" 

Second, know that you have options other than to accept an agreement. 

1.  You can decline, which does not equal "I don't care about you". 

2.  You can renegotiate the time element or conditions of satisfaction of the agreement. 

3.  You can commit-to-commit, which is not the same as stalling.  You simple are agreeing to let that person know at a specific time whether you can fulfill the promise.

4. You can revoke, which is saying that you are either unwilling or unable to keep the promise. 

We avoid these options telling ourselves that we don't want to disappoint or let people down but ultimately we let people down all the time by not taking care of the agreements we've made.  Our public identity suffers as we are listened as inauthentic and privately we assess ourselves the same.  When we manage our commitments, even to the point of revoking, we allow other people to rearrange their promises that were dependent on the agreements that they had with us.  Ultimately it preserves relationships and our sanity.

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