6 Techniques to Manage Holiday Overwhelm as a HSP
The holiday season can be a stressful time for anyone, especially highly sensitive people (HSP’s). It is a period where we can all feel stressed out from spending too much money, saying yes to every party invitation, hosting parties of our own, and rushing around crowded malls trying to pick out that perfect gift. It is really no surprise many refer to it as it the “silly season” as many people go crazy during this time of the year! As an HSP and knowing we are entering the holiday season, I recognize I consistently struggle with feelings of overwhelm. Ironically enough, what is supposed to feel like a relaxing time of year with family and friends can quickly turn into a cocktail of overwhelm and negative feelings if we do not take care of ourselves. Here are six techniques to manage holiday overwhelm as a HSP:
This is so important. Knowing what you’re getting into beforehand is crucial to laying the foundation for how you want to feel and how well your day is going to go. Setting boundaries with other people and yourself is critical because the expectations will be known. For example, if you’re invited to a party and you know it will go late into the evening and that’s not your style, you may want to set a boundary for yourself before the party. You may tell yourself you will only stay for two hours and decide to come early to the host setup. This way you make your appearance and honor the fact that you also want to get home early to spend time with Netflix or get to bed early.
Setting boundaries is also key when it comes to having difficult conversations. This is so true especially since the holidays can bring up so many emotions between family members and friends. If you’re not interested in speaking to someone about a particular issue, honor that and share that with him or her. If the conversation needs to wait until after the holiday season, then so be it.
Schedule Events in Your Calendar
This is one of my favorite practices. At first, I thought scheduling everything in my calendar would be overwhelming by itself. I also thought my day would be too structured and I would feel suffocated and my freedom would be taken away. Once I started using my calendar, I realized my I had a lot more flexibility than I originally thought . I started feeling more relaxed knowing that I had may days planned out. I would simply use my Google calendar (its the best because you can color code each event) and schedule everything. I would plan my week ahead every Sunday and do all of the things I needed to get done (including sitting down to eat meals!) and I ensured I set aside time for rest, fun, and self-care as well. You can also use an actual paper calendar too if you prefer!
Take Salt Baths
Epsom and Himalayan salts have a therapeutic effect on the body. Taking salt baths daily not only instantly relaxes HSP’s, it also provides the body with the essential mineral, magnesium sulfate. My favorite thing to do after a long day at work or just a busy day during the holidays in general is to soak for 10-15 minutes in a warm epsom salt bath. Sometimes I will buy bubble bars or essential oils as a special treat.
If you don’t know what morning pages is, click here to read more. The first thing I do every morning as soon as I wake up (and get coffee of course) is to journal everything going through my head onto 2-3 pages of paper in a journal that only I see. The morning is the optimal time for your subconscious mind and your subconscious is where your soul lies. The best way to make improvements or discoveries about your life is to write it out! Set aside 45 minutes each morning to journal and you will quickly see that you will start to feel less overwhelmed because you’re releasing feelings and emotions. If you don’t have time in the morning, the evening is ok too.
Move Your Body
My favorite workout is a 30-45 minute intense combination of cardio and weight lifting. I find my body responds well to this type of workout 4-5 times a week and it makes me feel good. I also like to walk a lot everyday and practice gentle yoga once or twice a week. Discover whatever your body likes and commit to doing that. With movement comes clarity and good ideas. Sweating is also good because it allows the body to detox and release negative emotions the holiday season can often cause.
This is one of my favorite things to do (I like it better than simple meditation). Simply find a place to lay down (whether that be on the floor or the grass outside (for my friends like me in colder climates during the holidays, anywhere in the house will suffice.) Feel yourself in your body and the connection to the planet. Simply breathe and let go of anything weighing you down. You can also stretch your muscles if that feels good too. Do this daily for 5-10 minutes and you will quickly notice a difference with your overwhelm!
What techniques have you found helpful for managing overwhelm as a HSP?