Helen’s Highly Sensitive Person’s Guide To.. New Year’s Eve

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Hello Lovelies,

If you’re anything like me, you hate New Year’s Eve, It’s supposed to be a good time, a happy time, and yet, you hate it.

For me, New Year’s Eve is always full of several kinds of anxiety. First of all, there’s anticipatory anxiety – What will happen at midnight? Where will I be? What will I be doing? What if I don’t have a drink to toast? What if I really, really need the toilet and the I’m glued to the loo when the clock strikes midnight? What if my husband is and I have nobody to kiss? All kinds of wonderful thoughts and feelings.

Then there is hypochondria when the bell tolls midnight – How do I feel? What do I feel? Do I feel differently? Will I still be here next New Year’s Eve? I don’t feel anything, who even am I? Am I dying, or fading into non-existence?

Then comes the noise intolerance – The fireworks! Oh god, the fireworks! Why are they so LOUD?! This isn’t a celebration, this is a bunch of drunken idiots in a frickin’ warzone. I’m three martinis away from believing it, which would result in a full-blown panic attack. Nothing about this is fun!

Finally, there is the social anxiety. If you’re like me then you love hugs, on YOUR terms! When said bunch of drunken idiots (who we call ‘family and friends’ on the remaining 364 days of the year) grab at you for that all-important hug and kiss, you feel nothing short of violated. Wet, drunken kisses on your cheeks from 3 aunts and half of your street is never a comfortable feeling. You never think to stop for a selfie, but now everyone you know wants one so they can post it on Instagram.

The worst of all is the New Year’s Eve party invite, Dear god, the party invite. Being stranded the other side of town with a bunch of people who I mostly don’t know and far, far away from my comfortable bed is not a Happy New Year!

Yeah, I hate New Year’s Eve. Maybe you love it, or maybe, like me, you don’t.

This year, I made a promise to myself that I will treat myself with loving kindness. I know what your thinking, but loving kindness doesn’t mean we go out and hug trees. Loving kindness means allowing yourself to have and to do the things that you like, and you love to do. With that in mind, here are some of my favourites.

  1. Eat The Foods That You Enjoy

You’ve promised yourself that you’ll start a new diet in the new year, and that’s great, but one last bit of self indulgence won’t hurt. You don’t need to plan a four-course dinner with more calories than days that you’ve been alive, a sirloin steak and with homestyle chunky chips and peas won’t kill you.

2. On A Similar Note, Eat Foods That Nourish You

Pizza, chicken nuggets and a pint of Coca Cola may be all too tempting, but they won’t leave you feeling good. HSPs are sensitive to sugar highs and lows, so be sure to eat something that won’t make your blood sugars go crazy. Lean protein and wholesome carbohydrates are a good choice, especially if you’re drinking.

3. Drink As Much As You Want To Drink

I don’t get along well with alcohol, that’s the sad truth. I don’t like the dizzy feeling and it does nothing good with my anxiety. If you don’t like alcohol, don’t drink it! If you only want a little bit, that’s cool too! Anybody who forces you to drink is not your friend.

4. Don’t Go If You Don’t Want To

One of the most surprising things I’v learned this year is how many people hate New Year’s Eve. If you hate it that much, why go to your friend’s party? A good friend will understand. Offer to catch up in the New Year once it’s all over instead.

5. Tune in, Tune out

Hate fireworks? Me too. So how about tuning them all out? Nobody says you have to stay up and watch or listen to the fireworks, so draw the curtains, pop in some eatphones and listen to your favourite music, I really love Skullcandy Jibs In-Ear Headphones for their amazing soundproof seal.

6. New Year, New You

We all say it, don’t we? But why not start the new year with a good old pamper session? If a party isn’t your thing, why not pamper instead? Have a soak with some lovely scented bath oils, or try one of my favourite meditations and imagine the old you rinsing away while you shower.

7. Two’s Company, Three’s A Crowd

Maybe you want to celebrate with someone, but you find parties really, really intimidating? Why not celebrate with just one or two close people? Nobody says you haven’t celebrated New Year’s Eve unless you went to the biggest party in town, and even with only one other person, you can still party on down.

8. Party For Pets

Why does your company need to be human? If you have a dog or cat who hates fireworks, you have the ultimate excuse. Draw the curtains, play some loud music (to drown out the fireworks) and party on! Remember, there are fireworks outside anyway, so your neighbour’s probably won’t be sleeping.

9. Not Here New Year’s

One of the best and greatest ideas I heard of this year came from Matt’s former line manager. She has two adorable Jack Russells (I’ve met them) who hate fireworks, so every New Year’s they make for a pet-friendly coastal getaway. It’s an expensive solution, but if antics at home are really that noisy and scary, why not escape from it for a few days?

10. Busy Doing Nothing, Sleeping The New Year Through

Last on my list is sort of what I plan to be doing. If you’re a go-getter like I am, then you love nothing more than an excuse to get some good ol’ fashioned sleep! If you hate New Year’s Eve that much, why not do what thousands of working individuals will be doing and swapping the hors d’ouvres for eight hours? Nobody says you have to be up partying..

Don’t forget, some people really do want to party and so if your family or friends want to celebrate, please don’t guilt them into going party-free 🙂

Whatever you get up to, I hope you have a lovely evening!

Helen xx

Helen’s HSP Survival Guide – 18 Tips To Help You Cope!

Hello Lovelies,

I received a letter on SLOWLY last night from a lady who, like me, considers herself to have an empathic/highly sensitive nature. While she was in a bit of a slump, I realised that it’s not only her nor me that experience these lows. Unfortunately, all empaths and Highly Sensitive People are predisposed to extreme highs and lows that perhaps go with feeling more intensely than most people do.

In my relationship, it’s not only me that is an empath/HSP. My husband also has a highly sensitive nature and perhaps that’s what allows us to be able to have a beautiful, vibrant relationship full of adventures and new experiences. Unfortunately, with his ability to appreciate the finer things in life, he is also prone to anxiety, depression and feelings of overwhelm.

So with that in mind, here are 18 tips that have really helped me cope with being a HSP:

  1. Write

I was advised to keep a journal as part of my therapy, but you know what? Writing is just something I do now. My dearly beloved calls me “Jane Austen” because I write, and I write, and I write a bit more! I love writing! And as an empath, you might, too. Buy a diary to keep your thoughts in, or try an online encrypted journal like Penzu.

2. Listen to music

This is one of my favourites and I find it best works if you really ‘feel’ the song. My current favourites include “Big Spender” by Kiana Lede, which is really upbeat and talks about having enough money not to be impressed by a guy’s wealth) and Sia’s “Unstoppable”, which talks about having to put on a brave face and not be seen as weak.

3. Breathe

This was a piece of advice my mother always gave me, just take a deep breathe in, hold it, release slowly. and repeat It’s simple, but surprisingly powerful.

4. Get out in nature

The practice of Shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) has been a huge game-changer for me, and even just 30 minutes of walking through the woods can really help, I know when the weather is bad because I don’t go for my walks, and when I don’t go for my walks, I feel more anxious and restless as a result.

5. Get plenty of rest

Rest, even if not sleep, is so important to empaths and HSPs. We get exhausted easily, and exhaustion means our patience and good mood decreases. I personally sleep about 6 hours at night, with a half hour nap in the afternoon (bi-phasic sleeper). Although I don’t get my full eight hours, I usually find that I don’t need it. Most people need 7-9 hours sleep, so find what works for you.

6. Laugh often

This is so important because I find laughter really helps to relieve the overwhelming feelings that come with life’s problems. Not only does laughter help resolve stress, but it’s also proven to help combat anxiety and depression and decrease blood pressure. So laugh, and laugh often.

7. Eat well

It’s easy to live on all that’s not good for us, but if you’re diet is a steady flow of pizza, friend chicken and soda, you won’t be feeling great. Sugar, fats, salts and additives can wreak havoc on your nervous system, so do be sure to have the bad stuff only in balance and in moderation. Skinless chicken, eggs, green steamed veggies, tomatoes and peppers are all great, tasty things to be eating, too.

8. Limit stimulants

Caffeine, nicotine and drugs are all stimulants for a reason, they stimulate you. Your nervous system is frazzled as it is, and still you frazzle it with even more stimulation? Take a break and your body will thank you.

9. Drink the right stuff

Water! Lots and lots of water! We all know how this works, but if not, water helps to flush the bad stuff out of your body which leads to a calmer you. My favourite ways include fruit cordials (“squash”, here in the UK) and herbal teas. Twinings SuperBlend Calm is my current favourite and it’s completely caffeine-free.

10. Talk & share

Poor Matt. Poor, poor Matt. Talking and sharing can be great for empaths and you can often gain valuable insights from speaking to other people. Unfortunately for Matt, he usually has to listen to me whittle on for hours. Regardless, a problem shared is a problem halved, so you should always make time to talk.

11. Keep warm/cool

I am extremely sensitive to temperature changes and too much heat will make me feel panicky, while too much cold will make me feel tired and depressed. If you’re like I am, make sure you wrap up warm in colder months and flake off in the summer heat. A nice cooling fan and water mist can really help cool down an overheated nervous system.

12. Make time to unwind

Whether it be in a hot bath or with a good book, make some time for you. My treat is always a nice long, hot shower. It’s sort of a meditative practice, I imagine letting all of my troubles just roll off of me and down the drain. Whatever works to help you unwind, do it. Frequently.

13. Try natural healing

Massage, aromatherapy, relaxation tapes.. For me, I love ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. If you’re hightly sensitive, you may experience “the tingles”, too. They’re a great thing to explore if you’re looking for ways to feel calm.

14. Cut out toxic people (and triggers)

I’ve written a post before about ghosting and toxic people, but if someone is only adding negativity to your life, wave them cheerio. If they don’t add to your life, why should you be adding to theirs? Your time is far too important to be wasting on people who aren’t worthy.

In a similar vein, a therapist once told me “if you don’t want to do it and don’t need to do it, don’t”. I don’t like horror movies or action movies, so I just.. don’t watch them. If something bothers you and you don’t need to do it, don’t do it!

15. Make time for your hobbies

What’s that one thing you like to do, but just don’t seem to get time for? Well, now you can make time for it. If everybody else is entitled to time to bake, sew and play computer games, so are you!

16. Learn to say no

As an empath, learning to say no can be extremely difficult and yet it so important to do. We can get so bogged down in the wants and needs of other people and then end up wondering why we have no time for ourselves. Saying no doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means that you recognise your own limitations. There is nothing wrong with that!

17. Consider therapy

I make no bones about the fact that I have been through therapy, several times, in fact. If you need it, therapy is a great tool to have available. You won’t lie on a couch why a therapist ponders over your symptoms and they won’t ask “how does that make you feel?” to every thought or memory you have. Therapists aren’t trying to help you unearth childhood traumas that might be behind an annoying habit, they are there to help you look differently at the thoughts you have been having, and to look at ways of changing your relationship with them. If you suffer with anxiety or depression, I’d highly recommend therapy over medication, any day.

18. Above all else, learn to love yourself

Your empathic, highly sensitive nature is a gift and a burden. Being sensitive means you’re more likely to cry and soppy movies, but you’ll also find extensive beauty where others don’t see it, and that’s a great thing! Instead of kicking yourself and wondering why you’re so damn sensitive, remember, you have a gift to connect with others and and an ability to see beauty in all kinds of situations, and that’s a trait that not everyone possesses.

Stay well and keep smiling, folks.

Helen xx