The holidays can be both joyful and stressful, expecially if you’re highly sensitive.
As a highly sensitive person, you need more time to process everything that you have experienced. Usually this means that you need more alone time.
The alone time is needed to digest everything you’ve seen, heard, felt and experienced. If you don’t take time to ‘unload’ in this way, then you run the risk of getting overloaded. This means you’ll feel overwhelmed, tired and as if it has all just been too much.
And guess what? The problem may not be that you’ve done too much. The problem might be that it’s been out of balance. You need to balance ‘going out’ time with ‘going in’ time. Time with people versus time alone. Time talking and times being quiet. Time in the city and time in nature.
Here are a few tips that can help you through the holidays without getting overloaded:
1) Schedule time for yourself
Sounds easy, but if you don’t plan it, chances are that it won’t happen.
For some people this means scheduling a few hours just for themselves or to be with partner&kids (instead of with the larger family of grandparents, aunts/uncles etc).
For other people this means: taking a short break a few times a day. Time for a short meditation, a short walk outside or to just be with themselves.
You have to find out what works for you: what you need and what is possible.
2) Do something that truly nourishes you
If you do have some time for yourself, I encourage you to use this time to do something that truly nourishes you. What is it that really helps you feel better? Going outside for a walk? A meditation? Reading? Taking a bath?
It can be helpful to make a list of activities that nourish your soul. Because often when you’re tired, you can’t think of it. And then you just crash on the couch. A list helps you to make a conscious choice and gives you ideas at the time when you most need it.
3) Give yourself permission to do things your way
Remember: when you take care of yourself, you can then be fully present when you engage with other people again. It’s a balance that benefits everyone.
So rather than pushing forward and only being halfway there with your attention… give people the gift of your full attention. And you can only do that when you’ve taken care of yourself.
4) Practice to stay connected with yourself, even when you’re with others
Taking time to process your experiences is one part of the story. The other part: learn to stay connected with yourself while you connect with others. I teach this in my online course Thriving with Sensitivity.
Learning how to stay connected with yourself while you’re communicating with others is something that you’ll get better at the more you practice.
The most important thing is to have part of your attention with yourself while you’re listening. For example: with your breath. Practice listening to someone and at the same time feeling your own breath.
If that’s too difficult or the conversation takes up all your attention, practice connecting with your breath before and after the conversation. This alone will help you a lot, especially if you do it regularly.
5) Accept how things go (instead of fighting them)
Not accepting but fighting with or resisting what is happening is one of the quickest ways to lose your energy and your balance. It’s like pulling the plug from the bathtub: suddenly all the water (your energy) is gone.
And yet we all do it. So when you feel resistance, or when you notice that you’re angry or frustrated about something that happened: observe yourself. Feel the feelings in your body. It’s okay to feel this. You’re bigger than your feelings and you can just allow them. Allowing your feelings will also allow them to find their way out of you.
After you’ve felt whatever needed to be felt, reconnect with the moment. Feel your breath. Feel your feet on the ground. Be grateful for this amazing body that you have. Then go do something fun :-)