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The holiday season can be a lot. The stores are full of people, there are lots of parties, brightly colored decorations everywhere, lots of music, and plenty of events to fill your calendar. The holidays can be downright overwhelming for those who are highly sensitive. It is important to take time and be aware of the days and weeks when your schedule is filled with events so that you can navigate the season without burning out.
Here are a few tips for highly sensitive folks:
Plan and prioritize
Make a schedule and prioritize events. Although it isn’t always comfortable to do so, it is okay to say no to some things. Just focus on what truly matters to you.
Find moments to step away and recharge. Whether it’s a quiet corner at a party or a short walk outside, a little solitude can go a long way. I have even found that spending a few minutes in the bathroom can help. If possible, close your eyes for a few minutes once you’ve found a little solitude. This can reduce the amount of external stimulation you are exposed to which in turn will help reduce your stress.
Setting boundaries can be a challenge for those who are sensitive. But you have the right to communicate your needs to friends and family. Let them know when you might need some space or when certain activities become too overwhelming. It is okay for you to say no to family and friends as well. Listen to your body and follow what is best for you.
Because it is so easy to get overwhelmed during the holidays it is important to include self-care in your daily routine. Whether it’s reading, meditation, journaling, exercising, or soaking in a warm bath, make time for activities that bring you comfort and peace. Take time every day to be by yourself. You will need that time during the holidays more than other times of the year. Do not skip your self-care time.
Crowded places and loud noises can be draining. Consider wearing noise-canceling headphones (affiliate link) or having a quiet space you can retreat to when things get too intense. Take time each night to be quiet. Turn off the television, put your phone down, and just sit in silence and enjoy your Christmas lights. Reducing the external stimulation for a bit can help give your overworked nervous system a break.
Focus on the positive aspects of the holiday season. Writing down things you’re grateful for can shift your perspective and bring a sense of calm.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or delegate responsibilities. You don’t have to do everything on your own. Enlist family members and friends to lend you a hand. This will take some pressure off of you.
Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your well-being. You are not being selfish by doing so. When you take care of yourself, you will have more of you available for others. What are your go-to strategies for navigating the holiday season?