8 Ways to Survive the Holiday Season When You’re Highly Sensitive

December is for many a busy month full of preparations and commitments. Though the holiday season is full of fun and family, it can also be incredibly overwhelming, especially if you are a highly sensitive person.

How can you get through the holiday season unscathed with your sanity intact? Here are eight tips.

8 Ways to Survive the Holiday Season When You're Highly Sensitive

1. Think About Buckets

In the lead up to Christmas (and Sinterklaas in the Netherlands) it is easy to get caught up in preparations and forget to look after yourself. It’s important, more so when the days are busy, to think about your stress levels.

Be aware of your bucket and how full it is. How do you feel when things get on top of you?

Learn to be aware of how you feel and learn to stop when your bucket starts getting dangerously full.

2. Plan Carefully

Spending a good chunk of time planning the month and the activities and tasks you are committed to will help provide you with an overview. Taking the time to plan essential tasks or engagements will help get you from making the mistake of over scheduling the festive season.

I bullet journal so I have a month, week and daily overview of the tasks I need to carry out, as well as my appointments. I cannot tell you how much this helps me manage my time!

Find a way to plan for the season that works for you and make sure you have an overview.

3. Think of the Kids

When you are putting a schedule together don’t forget to add the kids’ activities. You are probably required to act as chauffeur, cheerleader and general organiser and there needs to be time for all that too.

Think about school work obligations (we have all manner of extra projects going on this week for example which have put extra pressure on the kids whilst they are also excited about the arrival of Sinterklaas). Consider the ongoing extracurricular activities. If the kids are facing extra commitments because of the holiday season consider what is essential to take part in.

Stressed, overwhelmed children is the last thing you need during this busy period. Keeping them calm will help keep you calm.

Read 5 Ways to Reduce the Festive Period Stress for a Highly Sensitive Child for more tips to help the kids.

Make sure you give the kids plenty of opportunity to empty their buckets.

4. Empty Your Own Bucket

When you are planning the holiday season be sure to schedule activities that help you empty your bucket. It’s tempting to skip that yoga lesson or coffee with a friend in order to cram more festive preparation into your week. However, nobody wins when you are walking around with a full bucket.

Make sure you regularly empty your own bucket.

5. Be Realistic

If having the entire family over for Christmas day makes your stress-o-meter ding, then don’t volunteer to take it on. Look for ways to work together to enjoy the festive period – cooperate and share the burden of organisation.

If you know you and your family cannot survive over planned days then be realistic and say no.

Don’t be afraid to say no to activities, even if others don’t understand. This is about YOUR family, not theirs.

6. More Meaning and Less Buying

Ensure that the festive period is not all about presents and buying items. Make it about family and fun moments.

Read a story or eat dinner by candlelight or around the Christmas tree. Sing together or watch a Christmas movie. Go for a drive or a walk to see the lights in your town.

Build in quiet family moments that you can treasure for years to come, and make it less about commercialism.

7. Remember Why You Are Celebrating

It’s easy to feel unsteady in the build up to festive celebrations but focusing on the why can help you regain your balance.

Why are you celebrating Christmas? Is the focus a religious one? Is it to spend time with family? Is it about being together? About seeing joy on your children’s faces? Is it to recuperate from the busy year?

If you focus your preparations on the why then you will soon realise that what you have already done is enough.

8. Let Go of Perfect

Which leads me onto the last point. Let go of the ideal you have in your head. Let go of the idea that every single minute detail has to be perfect. Let go of the idea that every single element of your celebrations need to be planned meticulously.

You need to plan, sure. But not for every single minute of the holidays. Let it go.

Let perfect go. 



About Amanda van Mulligen

Mother, writer, author, blogger. Born British, Living Dutch. I have three Dutch sons and a Dutch husband and I blog about Turning Dutch and raising highly sensitive children.
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