holidays party

7 Tips for Maintaining Joy During the Holidays

I’ve noted that I can find the holidays to be a bit, well, over the top and overwhelming. So much is packed into a short time, and geez…the stores get things going well before we need to be thinking about them. 

This year I saw my first Christmas items in a store the week leading up to Halloween!! I myself would like to take one holiday at a time and have a little breathing room between each one.

Those of use who are highly sensing can feel the increase in energy in the lead up around holidays much more intensely, and it can really make our input buckets overflow sooner. And when the holidays arrive, that energy is amped even more.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just enjoy each holiday, each season, in a calm, relaxed way, taking one day at a time and not be in a constant state of holiday angst? (Actually, we can…keep reading to see how)

Have you lost the joy? If you do tend to feel overwhelmed, it’s no wonder. Consider: In the US with just the major holidays, we have

Halloween on October 31. Costumes to find or make, parties to plan and/or attend, decorating, viewing others’ decorations and trick or treating.

Just 3 weeks later…

Thanksgiving on the 20-something (in the US). Planning get togethers, meals, travel, and, if you’re a parent, changes in school schedules and making sure the kids have care if you’re working.

Just a month later…

Christmas (if you celebrate) on December 25 (which is often extended to Christmas Eve and the day after for extended family gatherings). Gifts to buy/make/wrap. Family time/get togethers to plan with, again, big meals. Travel, and again, kids’ care.

THEN, just ONE WEEK later…

New Years Eve and Day! Some of us may just crash by then and not do anything, others are party-goers and  revelers, and some time is devoted to removing all of those decorations and returning the home to a state of normalcy. And of course, there’s the cultural expectation of setting our resolutions and planning out our whole next year.

Just reading all of this can be overwhelming (sorry if I triggered you here). No wonder it’s a challenge, especially for those of us who give so much meaning to everything and focus on every little detail. Wow!

Even if you don’t celebrate some of these holidays, the hustle and bustle and energy from those who do and the expectations and commercialism is palpable. And you might celebrate some holidays that are different than those listed here; if so, the same principles and experiences apply…busy, busy and lots of energy.

So what’s an HSP to do to maintain calm in the face of all of this?

holidays walk

Here are some tips for allowing more joy during the holidays.

1. Self Care

Make sure you don’t let go of your self care; in fact, you might want to add to it a bit. Do an extra meditation now and then, spend a little more time alone reading or soaking in a bath or walking in nature.

And make sure you’re actually checking in with yourself to see how you’re doing and what you need, and follow through with that.

2. Preparation

If you’re planning to attend a gathering or two or three, remember that all of the energy can be a lot. Be prepared for the feeling of things being ‘too much’ and have a plan for removing yourself from the bustle for a while…go for a walk, hang out in an empty room and meditate or breathe or read, run an errand. And don’t make yourself stay beyond what your energy allows, because you think you ‘should’ or someone will be disappointed.

3. Honoring Your Needs

When you attend a party or family gathering, do what resonates. Wear something comfortable, not something festive that you hate or you can’t wait to get out of. Bring your favorite soothing beverage in case it’s not available (a warm mug of tea can do a lot for self soothing). Talk with those you resonate with and minimize contact with those who don’t.

4. Self Compassion

Rather than comparing yourself with others (“Everyone else is having a good time”), acknowledge that it’s a lot to manage all of the energy and busyness and expectations. Allow that you are feeling it all, make that ok, then take steps to make it work for you. Doing what we think we should or sticking it out when we’re tapped out only makes us crash sooner.

5. Taking some time out

As the season progresses, and gatherings and events get closer, be sure to take breaks, even more frequently than you usually do. Stop every couple of hours, or even hourly, for 5 minutes or so and breathe, pay attention to your surroundings with curiosity, do a quick word puzzle or read a chapter in your book. Choose something that brings you to the present so you can let everything else go and be in the moment.

6. Decompressing

Once you’ve left your events, take some time to de-escalate and self-soothe. Use some of the tools in your toolbox for calming and centering, take a walk, talk with someone who supports and uplifts you, take a nap. Allow yourself to recharge before moving on to the next chore or activity. If you’re planning to go to bed soon after returning home or the revelers have left, take some time to decompress so you don’t carry the tension and energy into your sleep time.

7. Celebrating

Honor yourself for what you’ve managed thus far and how you’re caring for yourself. Be sure to include many things in your daily schedule that inspire you and make you happy. Remember what you like about the holiday and not only focus on it, but increase it. If you like giving and seeing folks helping others, be sure to increase the energy you receive by giving purposefully and come up with creative ideas to make a difference (in ways that energize, not deplete, you).

Overall, it’s helpful to take a pause anytime you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or not feeling the joy of the season or enjoying the holiday. What’s going on? Are your expectations too high? What do you need to feel calm and happy?

Wishing you the happiest of holidays sensitive one. If the season has left you drained and uninspired, overwhelmed or frustrated and you’re not seeing a way to improve your mood or daily enjoyment, let’s talk and see if we can change that together. (More about me and how I can help)

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