How to manage heightened emotions at Christmas

Learn how to manage your heightened emotions at Christmas time in this guest post by Intuitive Coach Laurelle Wishart.


Ho ho ho! Christmas is really close now. Can you feel it?  The air feels supercharged, with people racing to get things done, buy final bits and pieces, finish up at work, make last-minute arrangements and attend family dinners, presentations, celebrations and endless ‘occasions’.

Christmas is an emotional time, there’s no getting around it.  And if you’ve experienced a significant loss in your life, so many moments this time of year can trigger sadness and grief - the conversations with loved ones and strangers, the music, food, smells and memories that seamlessly and sometimes painfully bring the past into the present.

Managing your ‘inner’ world of feelings, thoughts and expectations against the busy pace and hype of the ‘outer’ world becomes a real balancing act.  Because being in a heightened emotional state colours and impacts how you perceive the other areas of your life and can take significant energy to hold, let alone make sense of.

It’s worth recognising there is no perfect benchmark for how to behave, react or feel when it comes to grief or feeling so much.

You feel what you feel.

You are at where you are at.

Most importantly, whatever you are feeling is legitimate, and it deserves acknowledgment and respect.  It’s not easy holding so much, but please know you are not alone, as so many people struggle with a whole range of emotions this time of year.

Tips to manage your emotions

If you are feeling extra vulnerable and sensitive, here are some ways you can manage the heightened emotions this Christmas.

1. Be extra gentle with yourself

Treat yourself with care and kindness, as you would your best friend. Because if you are grieving, or feeling a lot of emotion, your needs are much higher.  It can be exhausting to show up to events when there’s so much feeling inside, and to answer well-meaning questions that have no easy answers.  Being gentle is a fundamental act of self-care. It might mean excusing yourself and going for a walk, or going to bed early, or not drinking too much. Or it might mean letting go of what you think you ‘should’ be doing and just having fun, without any guilt!

2. Listen to your own needs

It’s really important to listen to your own needs and trust them. You may not have the energy to do everything asked of you by others, and that’s okay.  Know it’s entirely appropriate to withdraw at times and take the time you need to support yourself.  It’s not selfish to look after yourself; on the contrary, it’s important to set firm boundaries around your time, your space and your heart.

3. Move your body as often as possible

Taking a gentle walk, going for a swim, or whatever your exercise of choice is, is a great way to release excess emotions, to soothe, calm and ground your energy and give yourself time out from everything you’re holding (for yourself and others). Try to make it a priority, because emotions are energy: E-motion = energy in motion.  They need an outlet and, being realistic, you're not always able to take the time you need to properly feel into them.  And over time when there’s no release of the excess energy, it can come out in more dysfunctional, often eruptive ways, where the clean-up becomes far messier than the original feeling.

4. Know your safe people 

Your safe people are those friends and loved ones you can totally be yourself with, who you can share your feelings if you feel like it and hold back if you don’t.  These are the special people in your life who will love and support you no matter how you show up in the moment.  Let them have your back and support you when you need it.

5. Simplify

Wherever you can, take the pressure off yourself and do less than what you normally would.  Because emotional intensity has a way of slowing time down, even if it feels the world around you is speeding up.  Slowing down brings your outer world into closer alignment with your inner reality, which gives you a sense of control over what’s going on.

6. Let go of attempting to manage everyone else’s feelings, discomfort and responses

We think we should control how others react, but the truth is we don’t have any control over how others behave or feel. That’s their domain. Knowing you can’t manage other people’s feelings takes the pressure off yourself because you can use your precious energy to look after your own.

Above all, don’t hesitate to prioritise your self-care through the Christmas period, for when you look after yourself it supports your emotional side and helps you to show up to those around you this Christmas.

Feel free to share this post with someone with whom you know it will resonate.

Guest Post - About the Author

Laurelle Wishart is an Intuitive Coach with a counselling background, a Mentor, Writer, Meditation Facilitator and Mother to two children, who is passionate about empowering women and girls to find, trust and use their incredible wisdom within. You can read learn more about her and get in touch on her website.


Interested in more?

If you've enjoyed this post, and would like further support from someone who understands the experience of grief and loss, please get in touch to arrange a complimentary (free) 45 minute chat where we can talk about how you can honour the person you lost by living a life you love.