For those who celebrate Christmas, it’s just a week away and it’s another complicated one for most.

For as long as I can remember, Christmas time has always felt a bit complicated. I grew up with divorced parents and there was always a lot of shuffling around to ensure both sides of the family had equal time with me and my brother. I always felt incredibly loved but I often felt spread thin and my heart hurt as I would leave one parent to spend time with another.

Last Christmas was extra complicated for reasons we all know + this Christmas feels a bit different due to the rollout of the vaccines but also still very complicated as the pandemic continues to move forward and each of us have different levels of comfort to navigate and people with especially compromised immune systems to consider.

I can feel myself getting teary eyed writing this and I know so many of you are experiencing similar challenging emotions at this time so I thought it might be helpful to share some simple tools that help me feel a little more grounded + taken care of.

Go on solo walks

As an introvert who’s used to spending a lot of time alone, visiting with people over the holidays can be incredibly meaningful but it can feel overwhelming (especially if we’re all staying in the same house for an extended period of time) I use solo walks as a necessary self-care practice, I’ll often just grab my dog and head-out without announcing it to the group and if someone asks to tag along, I’ve become more comfortable telling people I’d rather not have company this time.

Allowing conflicting emotions to co-exist

There’s so many things I love about the holidays – visiting with people I care about, eating great food, watching cheesy hallmark movies (btw they seem to have gotten so much worse this year) AND there’s a lot about the holidays that feel challenging – complicated relationships with family members, different stances on the pandemic, obligatory gifting, etc.

I’ve really come to embrace conflicting emotions – it’s okay to love aspects of something or someone and it’s also okay to dislike aspects. Both can exist in our experiences without always requiring ourselves to “pick a side.”

Tidy up

Christmas time is messy – there’s always an abundance of snacks out, gifts opened & lingering under the tree, extra winter gear hanging about, etc. As an HSP, I’ve come to realize how much constant physical stimulation (aka “stuff”) impacts my stress levels. This doesn’t mean I need to become a drill sergeant with family members or fuss about little things but I do my best to keep tidy what I have control over (making my bed each day, finding homes for gifts, taking holiday recycling out sooner than later, etc.)

I hope these simple tools resonate or bring a level of comfort to you during this holiday season, sending you the warmest wishes + many enjoyable moments as we wrap 2021 and head into the New Year.


  • Kristy Vail

    Life Coach + Interior Designer, D.I.D

    Kristy Vail Studio Co.

    Kristy specializes in helping highly sensitive people and introverts move into alignment in their personal lives and home environments through thoughtful consulting and mindset coaching. She is also the Podcast Host of Connected with Kristy Vail, which has been featured multiple times on the iTunes New & Noteworthy List. Learn more about her work here + listen to the podcast through this link here.