An Empath’s Holiday Survival Guide
Empaths feel others’ emotions and energies deeply, which can result in physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Around the holidays, the energy of others is forced upon us as we carry out our winter social obligations. Whether it’s a long day with relatives and friends or being around a lot of people in a confined space, it is difficult to find a moment of stillness and quiet. Empaths may find themselves engaged in many conversations and with many people, as their natural, compassionate energy attracts others. With all of this interaction, it is important for people with high levels of empathy to care for themselves during the holidays. Here are a few tips for preserving your energy.
Be reasonable with yourself: We all have a finite “social battery,” and, for empaths, this battery runs strong but not always for an extended period of time. If it is too much to go to everything, allow yourself to decline invitations or to shorten visits. Look for alternatives such as calling a relative or writing a letter rather than feeling you must attend everything. Empaths can easily get lost in “people-pleasing” so it’s important to think about what you need. You are not being unempathetic by considering your own needs and by doing what is right for you.
Rest before and after social interactions: Prior to attending a gathering, be sure to ground yourself and give yourself some time to prepare emotionally. Sometimes taking a short walk, meditating, listening to music, or just sitting quietly can help you to feel balanced before you go to a social event. Likewise, resting afterwards is important; sometimes social gatherings can feel like marathons, and any runner knows that you have to let your body rest and recover after a race.
Remove yourself from high-emotion situations: Sometimes we feel we need to stay when it is healthier for us to leave. Empaths can often feel guilty about stepping away but there are times when it is simply self-preservation. If, for instance, a heated disagreement ensues at a family function, an empath can easily feel swept up in the chaos. In an instance like this, ask yourself what is healthy for you. It’s ok to remove yourself from a situation that robs you of your inner calm and stillness.
Stay true to your values: Remember your own personal values regarding this time of year. Another person’s feelings surrounding the holidays do not have to obscure your own. The same way we talk about “boundaries” with physicality and communication, you can create boundaries around your empathic energy. It’s another way to preserve yourself and to not get lost in others’ feelings and emotions.
By Phil Lane, LCSW
This post is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
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