Four Ways to Manage Too Many Choices

It’s hard to believe that the holiday season is upon us, and this means there will be plenty of opportunities to make choices. Attending the office holiday party, going to a fall festival, participating in gift exchanges, attending themed brunches or a New Year’s Eve party…the list goes on. If you tend to feel overwhelmed with so many options, this blog is for YOU! I’m going to share a few go-to skills to help you navigate the busy holiday season!

First things first, ask yourself the most obvious question: Do I want to go? Many of us start by making choices out of obligation, i.e., going to grandma’s house for Thanksgiving because that is what you are supposed to do. I’m here to tell you that you can make compromises with holiday traditions (we will get to that later). So, ask yourself if you want to go, and why or why not? Are any of these answers rooted in a fear-based response? Then ask yourself: Is this fear valid? For example, are you turning down a fun night at a haunted house because you had a horrible experience 20 years ago?

The second step when choosing whether or not to participate in an activity is asking yourself: Do I have space and time for this activity? Sometimes, we want to do ALL the things but doing all the things will
leave us tired and out of balance. If your schedule is already jam-packed it doesn’t automatically mean you have to miss out (no one likes the way FOMO feels!), but I highly recommend adjusting your day-to-day so that you don’t end up with an empty bucket later. Social burnout is a real thing, especially for introverts.

The third step is to recognize that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. All-or-nothing thinking is a defense mechanism that many of us employ because our society processes things in neat little boxes. Guess
what? Life doesn’t happen in neat little boxes and MOST things are grey, which leads us back to traditions. Ask yourself: Is there a way I can compromise? Maybe you want to do a Friendsgiving, but your family always has Thanksgiving at your grandparents’ home. You are allowed to make a new tradition while honoring existing ones. This could look like you going to your family’s home earlier in the day and spending quality time with them, then joining your friends later that evening for dinner. Also know that if the environment is going to be unhealthy and cause mental anguish, you can always say no,
and "no" is a full sentence.

Our fourth, and final step, is to communicate your choices in a timely manner. Most stress comes from knowing you have to make a decision and delaying the decision until the last minute or not making a
decision at all. Delaying a decision or not making a decision can lead to anxious thoughts and uncomfortable conversations later with the event host. Ask yourself: When is my deadline to make a decision about this event? This allows you to properly work through the first three steps and relay your response in a timely manner. Keep in mind that you are always allowed to change your mind or leave early if it’s not what you expected or you are not enjoying yourself.

Bonus tip: If you are interested in going to two events at the same time, you can always quiet your mind and imagine both events. See which one feels best to you in your body.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published