An Empath’s Cure For Holiday Overwhelm

Dec 15, 2015 by

As an empath, I view the holidays with a mix of joy and trepidation. It is the most wonderful time of the year, except when it isn’t. Every year I struggle to find the joy of the season without getting swamped by emotional and energetic overload.In my mind, the holiday is an outré amalgamation of my childhood memories, a Currier and Ives painting and my own slapstick version of “A Christmas Story.”



I love it.


In my head, I really am riding through the woods in a one horse open sleigh wearing my rose-colored Christmas glasses. In reality, I am stuck in mall traffic, worried about bills, family obligations and getting everything done in time.



The chasm between the Christmas in my mind and what is actually going down is depressing and overwhelming to my sensitive, empathic nervous system. Holiday overload makes me want to hide under my Christmas tree until it’s all over.


The world is rough for empaths at any time of the year. I often feel that I am moving through the world with no skin on, over sensitive and raw, but the holidays ramp it all up to extreme overwhelm.




The office party.


Family shenanigans.


A crazy amount of errands.


Do, do, do and go, go, go. All on behalf of other people’s happiness.




I work as a psychic and energy healer, which I have been doing for 30 years now. It’s zany, heart warming and surely the most interesting job on the planet and I love it. And yet, at this time of year it wears on me.


My poor clients are more miserable than usual and I feel every ripple. Empaths are tuned into the pain and suffering of the world far more acutely than other people. We cry for those who are lost and lonely and its even more unbearable during the holidays. I bleed for the many people that I know facing this holiday season recently bereaved and for the recurring horrors in the news. Even the sappy Hallmark Channel Christmas movies make me weep into my eggnog.


So what’s an empath to do?


This year I have found a curative practice that has made me much merrier. I started by saying no to much of things that I don’t want to do. Empaths need to set boundaries by embracing the super power of the word no. It’s a mighty little word and has liberated me from so much unnecessary drama.


I am very nice about it. “I am sorry, I would really love to help you, but I am over committed right now.”


This just rolls off my tongue and I don’t even feel bad about it. It’s tough to say no for empaths. We really care. We really feel your pain when you ask us for help. So to nip this in the bud, I made it a policy to not say yes to anything without thinking about it for 24 hours. And then it’s often a no. I felt so naughty and mean with all the nay-saying, but I am not convinced that anyone else actually noticed. The world didn’t explode even a little. In fact, the end result was that I got more respect.


Other people respect the no. Cool.


I have found incredible liberation in dropping the story about what I should do based on other people’s agendas. I think this is true art of The Law of Attraction, just opening your mind to what you want and dropping the rigid rules we have about we can and can’t do. It gets juicy when you begin to self authorize.


I do almost all my of my shopping online, bless the Internet. I filled this newfound space with the joy part of the holiday program. My kids don’t even remember the presents from last year, but they do love the family traditions. So I lean into them hard and enjoy every minute of them too.


The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker on a Sunday afternoon in December.


Trimming the tree and trying to make it kitten proof.


Making cookies while binge watching all the old Christmas specials on TV.


It’s way more fun to do things then to buy things. That’s the good stuff. My favorite things are what I loved when I was a kid. Passing them down the generations is so sweet.


It’s important to find time for self care during all year long, but even more during the holidays. It’s impossible to give from an empty tank and empaths thrive on giving when their own tank is already full. Otherwise it leads to burn out. If you are already burned out, do some radical self care. Luckily it’s easy to multitask here. FUN is very nurturing and fills up the batteries, so you can refill your tanks and play at the same time.


Empaths do self care by allowing themselves to have their feelings. Make sure you schedule in some Feeling Time. All your feelings, not just the socially approved ones. Cry if you need to. Have a melt down or hissy fit away. Rant and rave. Curse. It’s all gotta come out. For empaths, this is the energy boost equal to five hours at a spa and it takes probably five minutes.


This is the one we skip because -yuck! All those feelings are icky and we judge and hide. Try to lean into them and find a way to really roll around in them. That moves the energy. As an empath, your feelings are your SUPERPOWER. Own them with pride!




The other part of my empath’s holiday cure is to honor the season of giving. Empaths thrive on giving, since we do really, really care! I choose carefully how I want to give back. There is a huge payoff in giving as directly as I can, I feel it down to my soul when I give and can directly see the results.


Making cookies for my elderly and lonely neighbor and bringing them over myself warms me down to my toes. We had tea and cookies. We connected. This was a million times better than writing a check, or dropping change in a kettle on a street corner.


My son is the Marine Corps, so I sent him a Christmas care package. And also to my adopted Marine who is deployed overseas. The sincere thank yous from these young men and their friends means a lot to me. The closer I get to charity and giving from the heart, the more it fills rather than depletes me.


Then it’s joy to the world.


And it really is. I wish you all that joy too and I know you can create it if you set your heart on it.


Lisa Campion is a psychic and energy healer with 25 years experience. She specializes in training emerging empaths, psychics and healers.


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