Elaine Aron, PhD wrote in an issue of her newsletter about holiday season challenges – especially for highly sensitive people (HSPs), but her perspectives can be helpful for anyone:
“Here come the holidays and the New Year. Give yourself a gift by remembering to do this time of year your way: If you are already doing all you can, don’t expect anything extra of yourself without dropping something else, especially if the holidays are busy for you at work.
“Plan what you will enjoy, then cut it by half.
“Don’t buy into the idea that this time of year must be fancy or especially meaningful.
“It’s stressful enough during the holidays without trying to meet extra cultural expectations.
“If you can, connect with those who may need you a little more at this time of year–that’s meaning enough. But don’t promise more than you can deliver.”
From her 2009 Comfort Zone newsletter.
In her 2013 newsletter she offers more suggestions:
A Brief Reminder for the Holidays
You know what you have to do:
Fight the commercialization, which affects you as it creeps in, presenting things you can feel expected to do because everyone else does. Think consciously and deliberately how you will make this a meaningful time for you and others.
At the same time, watch your expectations, fueled by memories and media (and me) that this should be a wonderful family time or especially meaningful spiritually–it may not be possible to find meaning right then, given the stress of the season.
If you aren’t religious, think about the symbolic/archetypal meaning, always there, in this season of darkness turning to light and the birth of hope.
Don’t take on too much, especially if you are already doing all you can in the time you’ve got. Make a budget for gifts and food, and stick to it.
Again, foil the ones who commercialize this season, hoping to get you to buy what they need to sell.
Order online and from catalogues to avoid crowds. Or shop early, in stores you are familiar with and like.
Plan to be riled up by some feelings from the past and see what you can learn from them.
Give your body a gift. Take some extra down time. Really. Eat moderately, get your sleep, and enjoy yourself your way, an HSP way.
P.S. to parents: Do even more of the above. Your family will enjoy the holidays more if you “put your oxygen mask on first.”
[Photo: SNL Thanksgiving Special, 2013 – also used on the page: Introversion – Highly Sensitive People (HSP) Resources.]
Elaine Aron, PhD is author of The Highly Sensitive Person.
My related site: Highly Sensitive and Creative.
Elaine Aron suggested to “Order online and from catalogues to avoid crowds” – as an HSP, that is something I have been doing for years – it is so much less stressful.