Are you the type who gets exhausted after holiday get-togethers with your family? It’s okay for you to be honest. Don’t get us wrong—we love being around our loved ones! But sometimes it can take up a lot of energy. Get what we mean? You might just be a highly sensitive person.
A highly sensitive person often gets tired because they absorb people’s feelings. They can sense the energy in a room and are very aware of subtleties like tone, body language, and facial expressions.
That’s why holidays are such a brutal season for highly sensitive people. It’s a time for giving and receiving. We’re not just talking about presents and well wishes. There’s a lot of tension, sensitivity, and vibes—good or bad—thrown into the mix, too.
Sometimes there’s no escaping holiday gatherings, so it’s really just about managing your triggers. So if you identify as a highly sensitive person, this is the survival guide for you!
Make sure there’s at least one person you trust at these holiday events
Highly sensitive people aren’t always introverts. They can be super sociable, or somewhere in between. Whatever the case, you will always need a conversation buffer. A buddy, if you will, who knows your limits and can help you diffuse. You know, that one cousin who just gets you. Or maybe your uncle’s dog who calms you down in a situation.
Carry essential oils or a balm for sensory overload
Sometimes socializing can get too much. Are the Christmas lights flashing too much? Maybe it’s a little too noisy or sensitive? At times, you kind of just want to focus on the moment. Rubbing essential oils or a scented balm on your wrists, temple, and under your nose can help with wakefulness and grounding.
Stay hydrated so you don’t stay dizzy. Especially when you’re chowing down on the noche buena. You can get a little too full of the food and conversation. Lay low on the ice, too, because that can upset your stomach.
Bring a light book—but don’t overindulge
This works for family gatherings that get a little intense for highly sensitive people. It’ll be easy to retreat to the comforts of your phone when you start feeling on edge but resist that temptation! You might get even more triggered online. See if you can find a spot you can retreat to. Bring a book that comforts you, but not too heavy that it sucks you out. Remember to excuse yourself politely.
Know when to say “No,” and when to say “I should”
There are some events you can politely refuse. The same thing goes with what you’re offered during these events. Lay low on too much food, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.
At the same time, there are other events that are milestones or important for you and your loved ones. Gatherings with immediate family, your closest friends, the people who are special to you. Be honest with yourself about how much energy you have to spend, and who to spend it with.
Listen to music on the way to and back
Have a series of playlists on your phone that you love. Keep a pair of earphones in your bag so you can plug and play. Just make sure it’s in the car or outside a conversation. You want to make sure you’re being polite at the same time.
Politely remove yourself if it gets toxic
There’s a way to be firm while also being nice. Politely excuse yourself, bid your host goodbye, and leave without a scene. Have an escape route or alternative way out of that situation if you can’t get home with your original way. It can be a car service, a commute route, or someone you know who can take you home on short notice.
In through the nose, out through the mouth. Count to ten as you try to still. Four counts in, six counts out. Repeat until you feel calm. You’ll be okay.
Take time for yourself at the end of the day
This is so important, whether you’ve had a good or bad day. Retreat, recharge, and reflect. Have a self-care routine. Write in a journal. Do something that makes you happy. That can be dancing to music by yourself, or watching a funny show. Anything that brings you joy. And after all that, make sure to have a good night’s sleep. You deserve it!
What other self-care tips can you share with a fellow highly sensitive person? Blog with us! Become a student contributor for our blog and write for our All About Senior High and College Life sections.
It’s totally okay to be sensitive. You’re strong and you’re wonderful and you’ve got this! Happy holidays from the Edukasyon.ph team!