The holiday season is upon us, a time of joy and merriment; invitations to festivities; friends and family—and, if you’re anything like me, obligations, expectations and maybe even a little dread. It is so important to take good care of yourself and honor your energy at this time of year, especially if you are a sensitive person or introvert, so I’m sharing 4 of my tried and true self-care tips for the holidays below.
Tip #1: Set healthy boundaries
Hear me loud and clear: It is OK to say no to people and things that stress you out, annoy you, make you feel miserable, or just do not bring you joy. As a sensitive person and introvert myself, making small talk, being around unkind or indifferent people, and having expectations put upon me is not my jam. I used to do these things because that was what was expected of me–and it sapped my energy and made me feel terrible. Setting healthy boundaries makes all the difference in the world. Remember: unless you have young children, it’s not your job to take care of other people’s needs. It’s your job to take care of your own needs. Learning to say no and not feeling guilty about it takes some practice, but the more you do it the more you will see how much better you feel, guaranteed.
Tip #2: Be upfront and honest
As I learned more about my trait of high sensitivity over the last several years, I started feeling more comfortable explaining it to others and being upfront about what I would or would not be able to do. Even if you’re not an HSP, it’s OK to simply tell people, “The cookie exchange sounds fun, but I’m not going to be able to take part because I’m really trying to eat healthier” or “I’m feeling really tired and need some downtime so I’m going to have to take a rain check on our get-together.” You can explain your reasons why if you want, but you don’t have to. If someone loves you and has your best interests at heart, they will understand. If they don’t understand, you may want to ask yourself why you want someone like that in your life.
Tip #3: Plan ahead–and find a safe space
If you do decide to attend holiday parties and you have a partner, you can ask them to help you with this tip. If you know you’re going into a situation that is going to be draining or overwhelming for you, agree ahead of time about when you will leave the event. That way there’s no ambiguity, and your partner can even help extricate you from a tedious conversation. You can also plan ahead to find a safe space to be by yourself if you need to take a break from the festivities for a little while. Find someplace away from the crowd—a spare bedroom, a bathroom, or even outdoors—where you can get away from the noise and have some space to recharge.
Tip #4: Build in some rewards for yourself
If you can’t get out of certain obligations like a family dinner or work party, schedule something nice for yourself, like a personal retreat or massage, the next day. (Even better, request it as a gift from your family so that they’re essentially paying you for the time you spent with them. ) It doesn’t even have to be anything as big as that though. Even something as simple as taking some time to read an inspirational book or do a relaxing Yin yoga practice can feel luxuriously rewarding after a hard day of forced cheer.
I hope these tips help you to navigate the holiday season with a little more ease. Taking care of YOURSELF really is the best gift you can give yourself, so make sure to put yourself at the top of your list this year!
If you’re looking for even more self-care tips for the holiday season and beyond, be sure to check out the Self-Care section on my Wellness Blog. If you’re ready to do some in-depth work around taking better care of yourself and are looking for a little guidance, consider gifting yourself my Stop Sabotaging Your Self-Care self-paced online course, only $19 for a limited time!