The holiday season is often hailed as a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness. It is often called, “The most wonderful time of the year.” However, for highly sensitive people (HSPs), the hustle and bustle can often be stressful and overwhelming. From crowded gatherings, intense emotions, and challenging family dynamics, navigating the holidays require intentionality and planning. In this blog, we'll explore strategies to help us as HSPs not only survive but potentially enjoy and even thrive during this festive season.
1. Set an Intention
Before the holiday whirlwind begins, take a moment to set a positive intention for the season. Whether it's focusing on gratitude, embracing joy, or fostering connection, having a clear intention can guide your actions and decisions throughout the holidays.
2. Envision Responding Rather Than Reacting
Visualize yourself responding calmly to challenging situations instead of reacting impulsively. By mentally preparing for potential stressors, you empower yourself to navigate conflicts with grace and mindfulness.
3. Ground Beforehand
Grounding exercises can be a lifeline for HSPs. Prior to attending social events, engage in grounding activities such as yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or a nature walk. Grounding helps anchor you in the present moment, providing a sense of stability amidst potential chaos.
4. Take Breaks
Recognize when you need a breather and take breaks as necessary. Whether it's stepping outside for fresh air or finding a quiet corner to regroup, these moments of respite allow you to recharge and prevent sensory overload. When in doubt, the bathroom is a great place to step away, and no one will bother you in there! (Unless you have kids or pets!)
5. Speak Up for Your Needs
Do your best to communicate your needs with those around you. Whether it's requesting a quieter space, asking for adjustments in plans, or expressing your limits, advocating for yourself ensures a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. If you do this ahead of time, it also helps people to have more reasonable expectations of you and not take your needs personally.
6. Find a Buddy
Having a supportive friend or family member can make a world of difference. Identify someone who understands your sensitivities and can offer companionship and understanding during holiday gatherings. A buddy system can provide both emotional support and a sense of security. If there is no one you feel that safe with at your gathering, find someone to talk to about your experience before and/or after.
7. Leave When You Are Ready
Grant yourself the freedom to leave events when you feel it's the right time. Setting realistic expectations for your presence at gatherings allows you to enjoy the festivities without pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
8. Have a Self-Care Plan for When You Get Home
After the festivities, make self-care a priority as you transition back to your personal space. This is a crucial step in maintaining emotional balance and ensuring a positive overall holiday experience. Make a plan ahead of time, such as to take a bath, do self-massage or do some gentle stretching. Having this plan will help you recover faster and also give you something to look forward to.
9. Appreciate Your Effort
Acknowledge and appreciate the effort you put into navigating the holidays as an HSP. Celebrate the small victories, whether it's successfully managing stress or creating moments of joy. Recognizing your resilience reinforces a positive mindset. Even if it doesn’t go as well as you hoped, take time to appreciate what did go well.
Join me for HSP online yoga to help you manage the holiday stress:
Yin: Pre-Holiday Chill Out - 40 min
Slow Flow: Pre-Holiday Stress Relief - 75 min
Short on time? Try my new 10-minute Feel Good Slow Flow!
With love and sensitivity,