Coping with the holidays as an empath

Coping with the holidays as an empath

by Lindsay on December 23, 2010

in Attitude, Spirituality

The holidays are a stressful time for all of us. Juggling your time between holiday parties, shopping, baking, and beating yourself up over eating your weight in sweets is tough! For empaths, the holidays present even more of a challenge: emotions vacillate between highs and lows and much of the time, those emotions aren’t even ours. We can feel the joys, pain and sorrows of those around us. One trip to the mall can leave you feeling drained for days. Luckily for me, I avoided that place all but once this month!

What does an empath feel?

Imagine going to a crowded mall and suddenly, a large crowd descends upon you and starts closing in all around you. For an open empath, this is what it’s like, but the bodies are just in the form of emotions. It’s just like a flood gate of emotions – none of which are yours – are coming full steam ahead at you. You absorb the emotions of the people around you. At the holidays, this can happen in your own home since emotions are heightened in everyone around us. An empath absorbs and feels depression, anger, sadness, jealousy, happiness, joy, expectations, excitement and fear.

Stay grounded

Staying grounded is among the most difficult things for an empath to master. During the holiday season there is so much going around you that you’re often left with your head spinning and feeling exhausted without a chance to remember that you need to take time to ground yourself. But trust me – you have to. You owe it to yourself and the people you’re spreading your holiday ‘cheer’ to.

Just as you can’t handle being everyone else’s emotional dumping ground, you shouldn’t subject other people to your moody empath attitude because you haven’t taken the time to ground yourself, shield yourself and give yourself that much-needed alone time.

Here are some basic tips for empaths around the holiday season:

  • Shield yourself: No, not with an actual shield. Although that might be funny. If you practice Reiki (or know someone who does) give yourself an added energy boost and ‘wrap’ yourself in a white light the envelops your entire body. Let your aura ‘hug’ you. When you start to feel down or panicked or anything not-so-nice, remember that energy is there to protect you. Hold on to it and know that it can help you push away everyone else’s crap. You have enough of your own to deal with.
  • Wear a protective piece of jewelry or carry around a protective crystal: Whatever it is that feels right and protective to you, wear it. I wear a Hamsa necklace from time to time. Someone else I know wears a quartz crystal necklace. I sometimes carry a protective stone in my pocket, too. You could also try wearing a ring or bracelet that you can fiddle with when you’re feeling extra stressed.
  • Find time for yourself: Even if it means escaping your family’s holiday party/dinner for 15 minutes, make sure you get away. Get outside and go for a brisk walk. Go into a quiet room (if you can find one) and listen to music. Whatever you do, make sure you make time for yourself.

I use a combination of all of these to ground myself before any holiday festivity. They won’t all work for everyone (or feel right for everyone) so do what feels right to you. And if you have any holiday coping mechanisms you can share with empaths, then share them here!

I wish you and your families a very happy holiday season (whether you celebrate or not). I hope everyone has a chance to enjoy this time. And don’t stress about the copious amounts of sweets you’re eating — you can work those off in 2011!

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Laura December 24, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Hi Lindsay,

As a fellow Empath, I have certainly experienced the influx of emotions from others. It is especially apparent during the holidays. After attending a Christmas concert yesterday, I couldn't wait to get some fresh air and leave the place as soon as possible. The feelings and emotions I picked up took a few hours to shake. Thankfully, I was able to have some alone time when we were back home, which helped clear things away. I wish I had remembered to do some shielding before I left the house, it would have been a lot easier.

I too avoided the malls and heavy shopping areas as best as I could this season. Thank goodness for online shopping!

Tonight I am definitely going to carry a crystal or two and do some shielding as we visit family for Christmas Eve. Thank you for the reminder and the tips.

Lindsay December 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

Merry Christmas Laura!

It's so tough (and draining) when we forget to shield ourselves, isn't it? I hope you're fully recovered and enjoying your day today with family. I've got 3 little ones running around here playing with all of their new toys. No amount of 'shielding' can protect me from the exhaustion this brings!

Judson January 6, 2011 at 4:01 pm

As much as I love my family, my alone time is crucial … putting on the stereo head-phones or scooting out for a 30-minute walk is great therapy.

Lindsay January 6, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I completely agree. I love my family so very much. But I love them best and am at MY best when I can get away for a little while.

Erica Mather December 23, 2013 at 11:04 am

Hi Linsday, Loved these recommendations at will tweet them via my account @learnedatyoga. Also, I thought you and your followers might find this video useful: Empathy Education.

Please share if you think it would be helpful!


Lindsay December 23, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Thank you, Erica! I will share that!

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