Tips for HSP Survive Christmas Parties

Being a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), the thought of attending the office Christmas party can make your blood run cold with dread.  It can be one thing to get through a work day with your colleges, the commonality of being able to discuss current work projects makes it easier.  But in a social setting, surrounded by loud music, attempting to making small talk, whilst wondering when it is a acceptable time to leave can be torture.  Here are 5 tips to help you survive Christmas parties.

Don’t fall into the trap of pleasing people, if you don’t want to go to the Office Christmas or any party.  Don’t Go! Full stop.  Don’t allow yourself to be guilted into attending.  Also you don’t have to make excuses for your non attendance.  You shouldn’t have to attend any event if it is going to leave you feeling energetically drained, emotionally exhausted, pressured into social drinking or jam food into mouth so you can’t engage in conversations.

To help you out, practice this sentence; “Thank you for your invitation, however I won’t be able to make it.”  No excuses, no justification needed, you are allowed to say no.

But, if you do want to attend the office Christmas party or any party for that matter it is best to have a plan to ensure the experience isn’t too overwhelming for you.  Here are my 5 tips to survive a Christmas party.


1. Dress for comfort – in something that makes you feel good about yourself.

There is nothing worse than wearing an outfit that is too tight, wrong size, poor fabric, needs pulling up or down.  If in doubt, keep it simple and classy, for example the little black dress (LBD) never goes out of style.


2. Be yourself.

HSP’s love the deep and meaningful conversations and struggle with the small talk.  Try practicing genuine curiosity about the lives of people you work with.  Keep asking questions, people love to talk about themselves.


3. Watch how much you drink.

Alcohol can be a social lubricant to help you calm your anxiety, but too much will impair your judgement (you may not want to be remembered for that person who was dancing on tables).  HSP’s are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, which drains your energy making a physical hangover worse.  Don’t forget to stay hydrated, by increasing your water intake.


4. Take timeouts.

Energy conservation is vital. Allow yourself a timeout from the party atmosphere, find a quiet spot where you focus on your breathing to ground yourself.  If you are able to go outside and remove your shoes to connect with the earth even better.


5. Have an exit strategy.

Before you attend the party plan your exit strategy.  If you are attending the party with a friend or partner, discuss an exit strategy together.  Be aware of your own body, when you are starting to feel over whelmed, tired or the ‘vibe’ of the party has changed. Give yourself permission to leave, remember it is your energy you are protecting.  Find your boss/supervisor or host thank them for the party and make a hasty exit.  Don’t get caught up in doing the rounds of saying goodnight.  A quick and quiet exit means no explaining yourself to others.


Put on your party shoes and enjoy yourself!

Fiona Stevenson

Fiona Stevenson counselling psychotherapist Gold Coast


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