3 minute read

Keep Your Peace This Holiday Season


By Julie Crenshaw

The holiday season is here, and the emotional roller coaster that comes with it can often be a mixture of excitement and dread, especially for Highly Sensitive People (HSP). Is it really possible to enjoy family time? Yes! Here are the top 5 action steps you can take to maximize your happiness during these get-togethers:


Noise is the main driver for overwhelm during the holidays. Using a gentle reminder, “I can tell you’re passionate about this topic! I’m very interested, but could you lower your volume a bit?” can do wonders. (Smile and wink to make sure they understand you are not upset.)Give them a reason to comply, “Uncle Jack, I love hearing about your job, but I have a slight headache. Would you mind speaking a little more quietly?”


Designate an area of your home or outdoor space that allows for relative quiet if you become over-stimulated during the event. Set it up ahead of time with a relaxing playlist and fragrance so you feel immediately calmed when you arrive. No big announcements needed; simply say, “I need to go check on something, excuse me,” and slip away for 10 minutes or so. If you are going to a venue other than your own home, plan ahead for where you will go when you need a moment to decompress. Team up with someone, and let them know your plan so they can help cover for you when you disappear.


There might be someone who is so excited to catch up with you that they monopolize your time, never giving you the opportunity to move on. Politely excuse yourself by saying, “Oh! I just remembered that I haven’t spoken to so-and-so yet. I’m going to let you catch up with someone else while I go say ‘hi’ to them before they have to leave.” If they want to tell you ‘just one more thing’ before you go, respond with, “I’ll be so happy to hear that story in a bit. Let me go see so-and-so first, and we’ll chat more later.”


You are not obligated to give anyone details about your life that you want to remain private. Prepare to redirect. How’s work? “It’s going well. Did I show you this adorable video of my dog from last week?” Are you dating anyone? “Not lately, but I’m enjoying the yoga class I’ve been taking. Let me tell you all about this great pose I just mastered!” If someone won’t leave well enough alone, be direct. “I know you mean well, but I don’t want to talk about it. I’d much rather catch up on something else. What’s new with you?”


If you are hosting, detail a start AND end time for your visitors. When you are out, decide ahead of time when you will leave and why. Having a firm reason will make putting your foot down much easier. “Yes, we would love to stay longer, but I have a deadline tomorrow so I need to get going.” Getting others out your door? “I’m so glad to have been able to host everyone. I know it’s about time for the party to end. Is there anything I can get for anyone before they go?” If people try to linger?“I’m having such a great time visiting with you, too. I really do need things to wrap up now so I can get some rest, but let’s set a date to get together again soon.”

When you follow these guidelines, you will be able to enjoy your loved ones while still keeping your boundaries firm. If you are able, schedule the day after with minimal to no activities in order to fully rest and recover.

Julie Crenshaw is a Life Coach and author. Her book, “Navigating & Avoiding Awkward Conversations: How to speak to anyone about anything,” has helped readers all over the world improve their communication skills. Follow her on Instagram to learn more about the art of conversation.