Empath’s Guide to Surviving Holidays
7 Tips to Help You Not Lose Your Shit
Visiting family for the holidays brings me major anxiety, so I try to avoid it if possible. However, this time it was my turn to show up (I skipped it last year).
I come from a slightly dysfunctional family (don’t we all, right?), which doesn’t help. Being an empath and a Highly Sensitive Person these visits can truly be a challenge.
To regenerate I need ALONE TIME, which is pretty much impossible if I’m staying at my parents house. Staying at a hotel or Airbnb would be highly offensive to them, so I never do that. However, there are some things that I realised I CAN do to make it manageable. Here are some tips I hope can help you cope!
- Limit Your Visit
A year ago I stayed 3 weeks and realised it was too much for me. Last holidays I stayed 12 days and realised I couldn’t do it either. My advice? Tap into what feels right for you (regardless of your family’s pressure) without feeling overwhelmed. Visiting family triggers a lot of issues for many of us, especially if you have unhealed traumas, so it’s important to take it all into consideration and plan accordingly.
2. Set Clear Boundaries
Make sure to verbalise to your family members what is and isn’t acceptable to you and stick with it. This may be hard at times, but it’s important to keep repeating it until they get it. Don’t give in! It is your right as a human being to be respected and to live in a way that works for you.
3. Plan Time Away
Schedule a trip out of town or activities with friends (or alone), a spa treatment or some kind of self-care, that will help you feel balanced and calm. Allow you to have your down-time / alone time / fun time. This helps, trust me.
4. Meditate DAILY
I have to say meditation really helps me stay calm and not react to every little thing that triggers me. It’s just not worth it. I would add — meditate outside of your family home if possible, where you are detached from their energy. I wish I did that more to be honest. Either way — meditation helps.
5. Plan Fun Activities
I actually decided to plan a fun activity with my mom which was new for both of us and got us distracted from our “normal” way of being. It was super fun quality time and we managed to forget about everything else for a few hours, which I feel really helped our relationship.
6. Change Your Accommodation
If possible, I would suggest to break down your visit and stay with different people or on different locations. Spend a few days with each person or on a different location, which I think could help avoid getting into any conflicts. The thing is when you first arrive everyone is happy to see you and you spend time catching up. It is after a few days that you start digging deeper and old issues may arise. At least, from my experience. If you change locations, it can reduce the risk of having uncomfortable situations and conflicts.
7. Journal — Breathe — Work out
Write down any frustrations to avoid outbursts. Breathe. Work out. Get it out of your system! If you are feeling everyone’s energy and not managing it properly it will get out in the wrong way and in the wrong time, and it will be much worse if it happens that way. Make sure to keep your mindful activities and manage your energy wisely. That way you will feel calmer and avoid conflicts at the same time.
Either way — you are not alone. Dysfunctional or not, families are tricky. Human relations are tricky. Emotions are too and as an empath you have many, so you need to be mindful and learn to manage it well. This needs to be taken seriously.
Ever since I became aware I was an HSP I have been very conscious of my own energy and how I manage it, and it has helped me be more balanced than ever! I feel stable, grounded and calm, it has helped my relationships, my business and the quality of my life immensely.
Once I got back to Paris after my visit, I took time to SLEEP and RELAX. I spent the New Years in a bubble bath and went to bed early. Best New Year’s ever. I was so depleted that I needed to fill my own cup before interacting with people again. Took a week, but I’m back on track again, making sure I ALWAYS take time off and relax, so I can be the best version of myself. :)
Finally, take the time to get the rest you need in case you do get drained, and do whatever helps you get back in the flow and to feel good.