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How to Thrive During the Holidays as a Highly Sensitive Person

A highly sensitive individual looking for extra support this holiday season in Colorado.

Happy Holidays! 'Tis the season for giving, joyful moments, and connection. It’s also the season for family time, crowds, loud environments, travel, social pressures, and ugly sweaters. 


As a highly sensitive person (HSP), you might be finding it hard to enjoy yourself this holiday season with all those extra layers (no pun intended!) Maybe the holidays can be a source of stress for you and you’re experiencing depression and anxiety. It can feel confusing to be stressed when everybody else seems to be full of the holiday spirit. Does this sound like you?

A highly sensitive person has a high level of sensory and emotional sensitivity. They can often experience intense reactions to things like noise, light, or even another person’s emotions. This high sensitivity allows an HSP to be deeply attuned to even the smallest details in life.

Wondering if you’re an HSP? Dr. Elaine Aron, an expert in highly sensitive folk, made a quiz to determine if you might be highly sensitive. You can take it here: Highly Sensitive Test

What It's Like Being a Highly Sensitive Person During the Holidays

Do you need time to recharge after a full day of holiday celebrations? Are you prioritizing cozy-ness over overstimulating holiday events? Maybe you feel easily overwhelmed by things like bright lights, loud noises, crowds, or busyness. For me, I’m especially aware of how overstimulating grocery shopping becomes during the holiday season. 

You may be dealing with anxiety and depression this holiday season and be unsure of what’s triggering your symptoms. As a highly sensitive person, you may have developed strategies for getting through over-stimulating situations. But what about the holidays? It can feel impossible to gain relief while keeping social obligations and celebrations in mind. Without that relief, you might be feeling more on edge than usual.

Highly sensitive people have a rich inner life. You might struggle with things overloading your senses, but you also are able to enjoy the more delicate parts of life – like picking out certain flavors in food. Being highly sensitive isn’t a mental health diagnosis, but rather a normal trait found in a small chunk of the population.

Ways that HSPs Can Care For Themselves During the Holiday Season

Sure, I can talk about surviving the holidays, but what about thriving during the holidays? We highly sensitive folk need a little extra TLC sprinkled in. Here are some ways about how you can give yourself some of that holiday love:

A highly sensitive individual looking for extra support this holiday season.
  • Get enough sleep! Showing up to holiday functions or walking the holiday-crowded grocery stores or malls will be that much easier with a full tank of gas.

  • Let yourself say no and set boundaries. You might be expected to participate in more overwhelming situations than normal because of the holiday season. Don’t be afraid to say no, set time limits on events, and allow yourself time to decompress.

Set aside time to do what recharges your senses. Maybe it’s changing into cozy clothing once you get home from a long day. You could light your favorite candle or even start a simmer pot on the stove (full of yummy smells!) Take a long shower or a bath to warm up after chilly days.

Be Proud of Your High Sensitivity

Have compassion for yourself and where you’re at. The holidays are supposed to be refreshing and full of joy. That doesn’t mean they can’t be hard for us highly sensitive folk! 

Your high sensitivity isn’t a bad thing. You’re more sensitive to the subtler parts of life. You may have even evolved this way to help keep your tribe safe and find food easier. Know your strengths, and know how to take care of yourself, too. 

Extra Support is a Good Thing

The holiday season can sometimes be hard for highly sensitive people like you and me. With the right steps, you can focus on thriving this holiday season – not just surviving! Be sure to try out some of the tips I talked about and see what works for you. 

Sometimes, we need more than the tips I talked about above. It’s normal to need extra support during the holidays. Talking to someone for individual counseling may be a good option to help you thrive this season. Seeking extra support counts as self-care, too!

It’s important for you to know you’re not alone in dealing with this. Know that group counseling can also be an antidote for feeling alone and isolated in your HSP struggles. The power of a group can get you back to where you want to be.

Counseling can have a hugely positive impact on the way HSPs walk through life. Working through the roots of a problem and building up resilience can give you a new perspective. Having a counselor understand and walk with you through the holidays can be the most powerful self-care you can give yourself.

How We Can Help

If you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact us today for a free 20-minute phone consultation

  2. Or, you can book directly online with the therapist of your choice

  3. Begin your journey towards a calmer, more relaxed life

Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:

Author Biography

An therapist at Catalyss Counseling

Frankie Washofsky is a student intern and a provider for the Affordable Counseling Program at Catalyss Counseling. She works with highly sensitive adults experiencing anxiety, depression, and ADHD. Frankie is also an avid snowboarder and a blog author. She specializes in working with HSPs, perfectionists, and people-pleasers. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

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1 Comment

This year I made gifts all with my own hands and they were all in the same style, I needed a deer silhouette and downloaded it here, I’ll explain to you why I needed this particular silhouette, but because I made everyone the same sweaters and I needed the same print. It turned out very cool and fun, we all took pictures in sweaters, I’m glad that everyone liked the New Year’s gift.

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