Many of us are celebrating the holidays at this time of year. As with many socially observed holidays, it often comes with its own brand of stressors and triggers.
But, let’s say you’ve been working on your triggers all year (as many of us have been forced to deal with our shadow selves for the past couple of months), and are now reaping the benefits.
As an empath, holiday parties may serve as a special source of stress. Of course we love our friends and family (and maybe, even, our coworkers); but there are ways to enjoy the holiday festivities, on your terms.
Empaths can easily pick up the emotions others may feel, and may even feel what they’re feeling. So, for instance, if someone is angry, and you’re an empath who may pick it up, you may suddenly feel angry, yourself, even if you actually have been feeling great, in general.
But, being an empath can mean many other things too, such as being able to scan another’s psyche for emotions about past, present, or future life occurrences.
Being an empath is different from being empathic. To be empathic means you’re able to relate to how people are feeling. To be an empath means you are actually picking up another person’s energy as if it’s your own.
This can mean that, for some, going to a party can be a draining and overwhelming experience, since empaths may feel several intense feelings all at once that aren’t even theirs! And, can be hard to shake off, afterwards.
When I was first learning about being an empath, the work of Dr. Judith Orloff was of great help to me while maneuvering around that landscape for the first time. Some of my tips reflect her influence, although I have totally personalized this list with pointers that I’ve learned along the way.
The following are 5 tips to surviving holiday parties as an empath:
- Get a knowing of your energy, so that when you experience energy that isn’t yours, you can easily identify it. If you’re just learning how to do this, it would be unrealistic to expect that you’d have this tip down by that company party in a few days. If that’s the case, simply start creating intention towards awareness. So, that when you’re at that get together, you are able to start making some observations about any shifts in your personal behavior or feelings, and make note that it may not necessarily be yours to own.
- Hone your inner strength and vitality to make yourself stronger from the inside. When you cultivate strength within, you are approaching life with a full tank, rather than an empty or half-full one, which can greatly affect how you digest and process a given situation as an empath. Qi Gong and Tai Ji are excellent ways of cultivating vitality. Meditation (whether sitting, laying, artistic, walking, or otherwise active methods) is also excellent in personal cultivation.
- Have access to exiting on your terms. If you need to get to the party by driving, make sure you either drive yourself there, so you can leave when you want (make sure your car isn’t sandwiched in between other cars). Or, if riding with a friend, make sure it’s someone you trust, or who at least understands, and honors, any request you may have to leave at a specific time. If you’re taking public transportation, make sure to know the schedule beforehand in case there are any route changes.
- Limit your time at the party, but make sure you enjoy yourself! If you know you may feel uneasy about attending a party, but you want to honor the host/hostess/friend/relative/coworker/boss who invited you, go to the party with the intention of staying a certain amount of hours (like 3 hours, for instance). Make your rounds, and touch base with folks you’d like to connect with before the end of time frame you’ve given yourself.
- Take breaks, if needed. If you’re feeling somewhat overwhelmed, but you just need a moment, take a break and visit the bathroom, check out the porch/balcony, and take a breather to get grounded. That may be all you need to recenter yourself.
There is a way to be an empowered empath. When you first learn that you are one, it can be overwhelming, annoying, and confusing. Mainly, because nothing seems to make sense, and you feel disempowered and unable to discern what’s yours and what’s not. And it can feel like being an empath is more of a pain than a gift.
That all changes when you are able to cultivate a strong sense of who you are, and you are able to accept yourself fully and completely. When that happens, you may not even need the above pointers! But, until then, take measures to enjoy yourself this holiday season. On your terms.
Either way, may you feel empowered this holiday season!
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