Overwhelm during the holidays has become the norm for a lot of people and is especially common for HSP’s and empaths. Although it is the norm it doesn’t have to be that way. Overcoming overwhelm and stress is possible, even during the holidays. Although we can’t control what is happening around us, we are in control of how we respond to our surroundings. We don’t have to allow it to impact us. Learning to respond vs. react is an important skill, and part of managing overwhelm is managing the physical stimulation so that you can stay grounded and respond. In this blog, I will give you some tips to do just that.
Before I go deeper, I wanted to clarify that there is a difference between emotional overwhelm and physical overwhelm. If you want to learn more about that and how to manage emotional overwhelm overall, click here to receive your free guide “5 Keys to Overcoming Overwhelm for HSP’s and Empaths.”
As hard as it may be, the holidays are a great time to set boundaries that support your mental well being. This is especially important as we are dealing with a global pandemic aka COVID. We are moving through a time with so many unknowns, so letting go of expectations of yourself and from others by setting boundaries that respect your mental, and physical health and well-being is essential.
In addition to setting boundaries, making sure you focus on activities that center and destress you is also important. Try to make these self-care activities a part of your normal routine. And a reminder, what works for you may not be the same as what works for others, my suggestion is to try different options and use what works for you.
Let’s start with setting boundaries.
How to Set Boundaries
Maybe you don’t know what a boundary is or have heard this word so many times but don’t know how to begin the process.
Let’s start with defining boundaries, simply put, a boundary is what you are willing and not willing to do. A great place, to begin is to ask yourself “How do I want to feel over the holidays?”. Once you are clear about what you want to feel then brainstorm all the things you usually do and say yes to usually and decide what you want to let go of. Be clear about what you want and don’t want to do. If you aren’t sure, ask yourself if doing that activity will bring you the feeling you desire, if it doesn’t, let it go.
Once you are clear about how you want to feel and what you are willing to do, then communication with your loved ones is an essential part of setting boundaries. When speaking or writing to others make sure you take ownership of your feeling by using “I” statements. For instance, “I feel ____ so I won’t be making homemade cookies this year.”
You are in charge of our own experience. Now that you have set your boundaries, make sure you keep them. Next, it’s time for self-care. I have some simple strategies below.
Working out regularly
This doesn’t have to be an extreme or very exertive type of exercise. You want to make sure you are doing what is right for you and your body. Whether that is yoga, weight lifting, running, whatever exercise is right for you. Getting your body moving and those endorphins pumping is a great way to help relieve stress and anxiety which tend to be heightened during the holidays.
Exercise/movement also serves to move energy through your body. If it is hard to get started hiring a great trainer, or even a friend to take walks with is a great way to start.
The key is that we are not designed to sit all day, so move your body even if all you do is turn on music and dance.
If meditation is not part of your regular routine, this can seem like an overwhelming or even daunting task. You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Find a guided meditation and follow it for a few days. Start small, even 5 minutes is better than no minutes, and build your way up.
I have a short meditation that you can use to start. A quick tip: make sure you schedule the same time of day for your meditation, and even finding a consistent place for your meditation practice will help you get in the mode faster over time.
This in itself can be difficult for anyone on a regular basis, but getting the proper amount of sleep is essential for optimal health and mental well being! You should make it a priority to be getting 7-9 hours of good rest each night. Try doing a guided meditation before bed to help clear and rest your mind.
If getting the right amount of sleep is challenging, then ask yourself why? Is it the idea that you have to work hard to be worthy? Ask yourself what gets in your way and if you are not sure, try journaling.
Journaling is a great method to use to work past what is blocking you and any feelings that have built up and are causing you distress. Start by just writing down whatever comes into your mind. Allow yourself time to read over, process, and acknowledge your feelings, then release any of those thoughts or feelings that aren’t serving you and your desires.
You can also ask yourself a question like “why can’t I sleep?” and free write the answer.
These are just some self-care activities that you can focus on, there are so many options and opportunities. Some I haven’t mentioned today are: eating healthy food, connecting with others, and taking time off.
Most importantly, focus on any activity that brings you peace and joy. Whether it is through being creative, cooking, or baking. Setting boundaries with your loved ones so the Holidays can be a time of joy instead of overwhelm, anxiety, and stress is especially important this year.
You are worthy of setting healthy boundaries that serve you and your family. You are worthy of finding positive, creative ways of self-care that allow you to put your best self forward.
If you need further support please reach out! I would be happy to help support you along this journey and come up with different ways that you can practice self-care during this holiday season.