Highly Sensitive Holiday Prep

by eringoodman on December 4, 2012

in energy management, holidays + celebrations

* * * * *

At this time last year, the term Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) was in the periphery of my awareness.

Tara had written about it a few times and I remember thinking, huh.

And then Hannah wrote about it and I tuned in a bit more.

I recognized myself in much of what Hannah wrote, but I wasn’t ready to accept the label or really dig any deeper, so I just sort of tucked it away to explore someday.

But you know how it is when there is something you need to learn — it keeps appearing (and getting louder) until you finally stop and pay attention.


* * *

This past year has been one of tremendous growth for me — as a woman, wife, mother and heart-centered business owner. I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting, connecting the dots and figuring out what I need to thrive both personally and professionally.

Through a lot of introspection and excellent coaching and counseling support (along with plenty of tears, frustration, hard work and soulful surrender), I’m coming to understand how someone who is as extroverted as I am, someone who feels most at home and in her body when she is standing in front of a group — teaching yoga, giving a sermon or leading a ceremony — can become so quickly exhausted and overwhelmed in social situations.

(And crowded malls. And brightly-lit grocery stores. And heavy traffic.)

Hi there. My name is Erin and I am a Highly Sensitive Person.

My intuition, empathy and ability to read people and situations, while comforting and putting others at ease are my greatest gifts.

They have also long been my greatest challenges — especially during the holiday season.

* * *

As I flipped the calendar into December this weekend, I felt my anxiety begin to rise. In addition to holiday prep, coaching basketball (oh yes!) and every day life, I’m very close to releasing my first CD.

(Wait! What did I just write??!!)

Oh yeah, I am definitely feeling the need to pull my energy in and sloooow down.

But rather than take a digital sabbatical or blog break, as I’ve done in the past when life gets intense, I thought maybe you’d like to come along and slow down with me.

Nothing too crazy or in depth. (Cause, ya know, that would totally defeat the purpose.) But something. Once or twice a week. Probably more photos than words.

Slowing down, getting outside, finding quiet, connecting with my center – and bringing that peaceful space back to you here.

I’m sure I’ll be over on Instagram (my current favorite social media spot) too. If you want to join me over there (I’m @eringoodman), let’s use the hashtag #slowholidays so we can connect and enjoy each other’s slow and gentle moments. Yes?

And because this is all about self-care and slowing down, I promise that if I need to pull in and step back from this space, I’ll let you know and do just that.

And if you need to spend some time offline or be offline completely or just quietly follow along through your e-mail, I understand.

(Believe me, I understand.)

This is all about slowing down and gently guiding our beautiful, sensitive selves through the holidays in a way that feels good. Okay?


{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelly December 4, 2012 at 9:38 am

Sounds wonderful!


Anna December 4, 2012 at 9:59 am

Oh, I love this Erin. Normally at this time of year, I’d feel so rushed, having to get so much accomplished. We’d push through decorating and I’d stress about gifts. But this year, all of the normal busy has made us decorate a little bit at a time, and you know what? It’s been really nice. A box here, a strand of lights there. No yelling, no rushing, just…slowing getting things out together.


eringoodman December 4, 2012 at 10:05 am

We’re doing the same this year, Anna.

Tagged the tree right after Thanksgiving. Cut it and brought it home this weekend. Added lights on one day. A few ornaments went on last night.



Lisa December 4, 2012 at 10:39 am

I’m not sure I’m a full-on HSP, but I do know that the desire for a slow, family-centered, joy-centered holiday season resonates REALLY strongly with me. It always does, and I think this season I’m feeling it even more, knowing the big transitions we’re in the middle of right now. I also feel, with our little guy still so small, that we have a chance to get it “right.” Well, I think we always have that chance in life … but, there are fewer old patterns to undo, you know?


Sarah Rubin December 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

Oh Erin…I’m teary reading your beautiful words. This HSP thing has been floating around in my consciousness for months now and I, too, have been kinda brushing it away, refusing to read more about it, but deep down wondering about it. I’m so glad you wrote these bits of your story, especially the extroverted part – allowing me to see some parts of myself in your words. The slowing down and simplifying needs to happen here, too. Also? That’s some hashtag GENIUS right there. :)


Sarah Rubin December 4, 2012 at 11:15 am

Omg. Just took that test…25 out of 27.


cari December 4, 2012 at 11:36 am

well it’s confirmed, i am highly sensitive. just as i thought! thank you for sharing.


Fanny December 4, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Motherhood has brought my sensitivity issues into full bloom over the last few years. I am realizing more and more each day how deep an impact it has on my life and on my relationships. It’s always such a relief to find people who share this challenge. I am sharing similar thoughts–and linking back to this lovely post–on my blog today: http://www.mamaherenow.com/2012/12/need-to-retreat.html
Hope you don’t mind me sharing. See you on IG!


Rachel December 4, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I wonder if we are all *somewhat* sensitive, given the world we are expected to function in these days.

I find that a walk outside, how ever long my own busyness will allow, without any electronic device, is always a good antidote.

Sending love to you, Erin.


Emmalina December 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

The internet karma gods guided me to you today just so I could read this! After a fun but busy morning at a homeschool club/playdate I was wondering why I feel so frazzled. Like you am an extrovert so dismissed this HCP thing as I thought it couldn’t apply, I love being with people! Yet afterwards I’m exhausted and often even a little upset. Reading the definitions I can say yup, that’s me (and my son). I think I need to read that book!

Thanks for posting and for rejoicing in the idea of a gentle festive season, it really is what I love most : )


Flo December 4, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Um, 21 checks on that test. Might be a little on the sensitive side, you think? I love your idea and will be joining (when I can remember!) on instagram. I do not like to rush the holidays so I tend to not do anything and then suddenly it’s so close to Christmas that I’m rushing to get the necessities done. Starting early this year and doing a little at a time. :)


eringoodman December 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I have a *really* hard time making decisions so I always put off present making / buying until the last minute and then I get a flurry of inspiration (but often can’t get the supplies I need in time).

Trying to woo the muse to visit a little sooner this year. ;-)




Nicola December 5, 2012 at 12:23 am

I just want to say what a beautiful and amazing person you are. :) My mom gave me a book titled The Highly Sensitive Person’s Workbook, if that says anything. LOL.


Emmalina December 5, 2012 at 8:36 am

Sorry but this just made me laugh! Mum’s really do know best don’t they? Sounds like yours is really thoughtful : )


Julie Maloney December 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm

“Slowing down, getting outside, finding quiet, connecting with my center – and bringing that peaceful space back to you here.” Love this. xxoo


Christine December 8, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Hi Erin,
Thanks so much for posting this! The HSP stuff was really helpful to check out. Since becoming a mom five and a half years ago, I have very slowly started to notice and accept certain things about myself that seem to fall into that highly sensitive category, but I honestly didn’t know that there was a label for it! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Wishing you a peaceful holiday season!


Heidi December 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Many thanks for giving a shout out to those of us who are HSP’s. I didn’t realize how sensitive I was until after I had a child who struggles with the same thing. I never understood why (in my younger years) I felt my most alive when dancing on a stage for an audience, but then became paralyzed by fear and anxiety if I had to speak up in a class/meeting or be social at extended family gatherings.


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