How To Navigate This (Extra Weird) Holiday Season As An Empath
Empaths are highly sensitive people who can easily feel the energies and emotions of others. Empaths, like all humans, crave healthy intimacy and bonding. However, empaths need a bit more healthy retreat and recover time in relationships. Here are some tips for navigating the winter holidays this year as an energy-sensitive person, whether you're gathering in real life or virtually:
1. Make sure you feel connected.
The year 2020 has uprooted many of our normal routines and our ways of staying connected. If you aren't able to get together with people in person this year—or are only able to get together in a much more limited capacity than usual—reach out anyway. Send holiday cards, emails, and texts to let people who matter know you care.
This will give you lots of yummy feels in your heart chakra—an energy center empaths are closely connected with. Schedule phone dates with old friends and Zoom meetings with family—whether it's the family you were born into or your chosen family. We hear a lot about how empaths can be overwhelmed by others, yet empaths, being wired to feel others so intimately, are naturally nourished by the energy of others. Being physically distant from certain friends and family during the holidays doesn't have to mean being emotionally distant.
2. Build your escape hatch from groups.
In my book Self-Care for Empaths, I explain why an empath's hyper-perceptive system needs more space or breathing room. Being together for the holidays doesn't mean being suction-cupped to the people around you. If you're doing something in person—whether you're meeting one other person or have planned a safe and larger gathering—get retreat and recover time from others.
Find reasons to get a break—like taking a walk, taking a nap, or offering to run out solo and do an errand for the group. If you're getting together virtually, remember that Zoom fatigue is real! If you have several virtual chats planned with loved ones, space them out over the day or over a couple of days.
3. Use creative visualization to manage anticipatory stress.
Whether you're getting together virtually or face to face, picture things going well ahead of time. For sensitive people, the days, weeks, and even months leading up to an event can be much more stressful than the event itself. To help manage this anticipatory stress, get an image in your mind's eye of things going smoothly—like people laughing and getting along, or food turning out delicious. Or imagine yourself feeling calm and taking it in stride even if things don't go smoothly! Feel the peacefulness in your body ahead of time that you want to feel at holiday gatherings.
4. Have an empath talisman on hand.
Pick an object that holds special meaning for you—like a beloved heart-shaped stone—and charge it with grounding energy. You can hold it between your palms and feel your palm chakras warm up as you send stabilizing energy into your talisman, sit your talisman under your favorite backyard tree for a few hours, or hold your talisman and imagine a grounding place—like your best friend's kitchen or your grandmother's garden.
Or charge it by blessing your talisman in a little ritual or by saying a prayer while holding it and contacting your spirit guides. Keep your empath talisman in your pocket when interacting with others over the holidays. If you are triggered by anyone else's energy—a judgmental family member or a group talking about politics—reach into your pocket, hold your talisman, and breathe mindfully to feel more grounded and calm in the moment.
5. Mindfully absorb something positive.
Many times, empaths are told not to absorb negativity—like other people's anxiety or violence in the movies—yet I don't think people encourage empaths to absorb the good vibes enough. Instead of fearing your ability to so easily absorb, embrace this character trait.
Find something emotionally and energetically healing to focus on this holiday season—like your favorite holiday movie, an uplifting book, or an online class. The year 2020 has been very intense and collectively traumatic. Empaths should stay informed and involved about world events—we need your compassionate hearts! At the same time, balance the difficult energy with hopeful, nourishing, comforting energy for a healthier holiday season.
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