Ten Tips for Highly Sensitives to Reduce Holiday Stress

Learn How To Reduce Holiday Stress

The holidays can be a particularly challenging time for those of us who are Empaths and Highly Sensitive People. This holiday season has the added pressure of coronavirus and the political climate which can make it feel like even more of an uphill battle.

Not to mention the pressure we put on ourselves to buy the right gifts, look a certain way, and avoid the family drama we don’t want to get bogged down in.

So, how can we neutralize our holiday stress as much as possible and actually enjoy ourselves this time of year?

Tips for Dealing with Holiday Stress

For Empaths and HSPs, the holiday can be quite exhausting. You are likely to interact with people daily whose thoughts and views can be detrimental to you. You need to find holiday stress relief measures so that you don’t exhaust yourself everytime you meet them.Here we’ve put together all the tips for managing holiday stress.

1. Know when to blow a “bubble” around yourself. I don’t recommend shielding your energy all the time but there are moments when it’s entirely called for. If you find yourself in a situation where people are being negative or you feel especially bogged down try this: imagine that you have a jar of bubbles and you’ve got the wand in your hand. You gently blow a big bubble around yourself that doesn’t allow other people’s moods or negativity to impact you. The energy of others just hits the bubble and slides down, unnoticed by them. Let it be easy for the bubble to stay in place, no effort on your part is required. If , for any reason, your bubble pops, that’s okay, just blow another one. It might be a good idea to exit this kind of situation at the appropriate time, totally up to you.

2. Allow time to process after an event or gathering, even if it was on Zoom or just with a few people. Empaths and HSPs need time to process things and to integrate experiences. The day after Thanksgiving, skip the online Black Friday sales. Take the day to reflect on the day before, savor the good things about it, and recharge your batteries.

3. Expect people to be challenging. The people in your family or in your life who are difficult for you on regular days will only be more challenging for you during the holidays. Expect it, plan for it, and know how you will take care of yourself when it happens. This does not mean create drama. It does mean that you plan to interact a little bit shorter time with this person and when a comment bugs you think to yourself “I expected this and here it is”. Remember, you chose to be on the family Thanksgiving Zoom call knowing this person would be there and that you would probably be uncomfortable at some point. Own it with grace.

4. Take time for yourself. One of the most ultimate secrets for managing holiday stress is to have a little time every day that’s just for you. Pray, meditate, write in your journal, light a candle, do what fills you up and grounds you. This way you’re operating from a full cup instead of an empty one.

5. Make sure you have food that you love. If you have food sensitivities or preferences, take care of yourself and have your favorites on hand. It’s so much easier to relax knowing that there’s something to eat that’s in line with what your body needs. This also dodges the power struggles, the explanations, and the hurt feelings over people not understanding your food needs. Especially when gathering in smaller groups it’s harder to hide your plate. Just be upfront and take care, you’re actually a great role model.

Ten Tips for Highly Sensitives to Reduce Holiday Stress
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6. Do fewer things. This might seem like a no-brainer during coronavirus times but it’s still a recommendation. Everyone misses each other and really wants to see the little ones, etc. It’s totally okay that you choose to participate in fewer activities or gatherings than other people. If you have kids they might be relieved to spread out the Zoom calls (because they’re probably HSPs too!). Even if they’re not, when you’re overwhelmed the whole family suffers and they want peace, believe me.

7. Have realistic expectations. It’s possible to wear last year’s ugly Christmas sweater again this year (no one cares). Go to bed by 10 if you’re a person who needs to. Don’t plan things back to back, have at least two days in between. I promise that no one will die if you eat off of paper plates or do the dishes the next day. Think of some things that you can give yourself some wiggle room on!

8. Get creative. Most Empaths and HSPs have creative passions. We write, paint, sing, draw, make jewelry, knit, bake cakes, and so much more! One of the most effective yet important holiday stress relief tips is to​ spend time during the holidays allowing yourself to be creative just for you, to fill your soul, to light yourself up. I can’t think of a better gift to give yourself for the holidays. And, no, you don’t get to give it away as gifts, this is just.for.you!

9. Spend time with people who really get you. Call your sister or your BFF or whoever it is that truly understands you. Spend time with this person laughing and connecting and being yourself. Allow this relationship to recharge you and to take your focus off your stress and remind you that you are understood, cherished, and loved exactly the way you are.

10. Focus on joy. A little bit every day, see the joy. Notice the child’s amazement and wonder, hear the baby laughing in the supermarket, feel the embrace of a family member, read the card from a loved one, and LET IT IN. Pause an extra moment and let the joy into your being and feel it for real. This is the best antidote to stress ever. As Empaths and HSPs we feel more intensely and this includes JOY too. Allow it to be a steady diet in your spirit this holiday season and watch your stress melt away.

Print out this list, take a screenshot, write it in your journal, something that will remind you to stay grounded and connected to ways to enjoy your holiday season this year.

Laurie Carlson

Laurie Carlson

Entrepreneur | Life Coach


Laurie Carlson

​Laurie Carlson is a life coach for Empaths and Highly Sensitive women who are tired of living in overwhelm and exhaustion - they are ready to have a vivacious life from their strengths. Laurie brings her over 30 years of experience as a Psychiatric Nurse, Social Worker, and corporate training Project Manager to her work as a coach. She has a Bachelor's degree in Counseling and Social Work, a Master's degree in Organizational Development and Leadership, and is a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach.

Laurie is an Emotional and Intuitive Empath and Highly Sensitive Person herself so she has a keen awareness of what the Sensitive life is like. She's been coaching for seven years and the sole focus of her practice is helping Empaths and HSPs find a path to fulfilled living. Laurie is also a mom to four Highly Sensitive almost grown kids which is the adventure of a lifetime. When she's not working, she likes to try any recipe that has lemon as the main ingredient, reads historical fiction and self-help books, and is learning all she can about her Danish ancestors' tradition of hygge (or 'coziness').


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