You are sitting on the couch between your wrestling nephews and the cousin you are politically at odds with, wondering how to join the bustling conversation.
The football game on the TV is blaring, and everyone talks loudly over it. Bright overhead lights are also irritating you, so you get up, looking for a softer lamp to turn on.
There are none.
Wandering towards the kitchen, you can feel the unspoken tension between your aunt and your grandfather, who are at opposite sides of the room. You notice your mother is sitting alone, staring at her phone again.
You find yourself outside.
Under the stars and in the bitter wind, you feel some peace. But you also feel deep sadness for the way you can’t seem to enjoy this experience. It’s so intense!
You are tired, and can’t wait to be home with a cup of tea.
How much longer before your obligation to them is enough?
You wish you could feel happier.
It’s the time of year when we prioritize gatherings- holidays, parties, on and on. But what happens when the stimulation of hanging out is too much for you?
Maybe you are introverted, or a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). Perhaps, like me, you are both?
This means something that’s fun for many others could really tax you, like the scene above.
You have to psych yourself up before a social event.
And when it’s over, you need alone time to recover.
But tomorrow, everyone expects you to join the shopping excursion. You know the crowds of people, manufactured perfume scents, and loud music is going to wear on your nerves even more…
So do you hide in a hole?
It would be easy to find reasons to bow out of events. You could skip the myriad of cookie swaps with the girls, office affairs, and family evenings.
Just make up some stories. After all, you are training your cat to retrieve your slippers, and that could take a while. Plus, you’ve actually been transferred to the French West Indies for the next three months. Salut!
Except, you know you are actually just going to curl up with a book and miss “the happiness” everyone else experiences.
Sometimes, we need different things.
It’s taken some years of experimentation, but I have some great ways to survive social settings.
These are ways you can be gentle with yourself, and get what you need. It’s okay that you have different needs than others!
Here are some ideas on how to use a self-love approach to social settings:
1. Honor Yourself
So you are more sensitive than others- awesome!! You quite possibly are more empathetic and intuitive. You might also connect easily with animals.
I want you to celebrate that!
You can say something aloud like, “I honor myself for the intensity I experience! It’s a great gift! I love my sensitivity.”
When you honor yourself, you are staying turned on to who you are, at your core.
2. Practice Creative Mindfulness.
You can meditate on anything.
For instance, sometimes we use food as an escape, a distraction. But if we implement mindfulness, that bite of an olive can be a way to ground to the Earth.
You can also focus on any part of your body. When you start to feel taxed, see if you can focus all your attention on your left elbow, or right big toe.
Flexing your yoni muscles, (i.e. Kegels), is another excellent way to bring your focus inward and feel that your body is safe! It’s also wicked fun.
In an environment of overstimulation, creative mindfulness is a true lifesaver.
3. Find Your Snowflake Shield.
We are all special like snowflakes, right? So, we have different ways to protect our energetic body.
I recently envisioned my body as a tree trunk. Nothing could get past the bark that encased me, and I was totally protected from the energetic stuff of others.
There are so many ways to engage with energetic protection.
You could take a bath in white or golden light, and then seep in it while you encounter others. Or maybe you involve a nature element or animal guide.
Play around to discover what works best for your special Snowflake Shield!
So you can try these things out, and learn other methods for grounding, but sometimes there will be situations you just need to leave.
Too much stimulation is too much.
At the end of the day, it’s okay to draw boundaries about what you encounter. How you spend your energy is your choice!
If a friend or family member ever pressures you to stay at a place you would rather leave, you have an opportunity to stand for what you need.
Others might not get you, but you can practice self-love by knowing when over-stimulation is enough for you.
Because maybe you’d rather just be home, now that your cat knows how to fetch your slippers!