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The Empath’s Holiday Survival Guide (How to Actually Enjoy Your Non-Empath Family Without Getting Sh!t-Faced)

Let’s face it, holidays are hard for normal people. For empaths it’s one of the few times we get a legitimate urge to want to smack someone (or a whole group of people) silly. Sure, we can avoid the family gatherings or take a handful of Xanax or drink ourselves into a blissful oblivion but none of these honor what we’re really about.

We are here to connect and amplify love.

So rather than dreading the upcoming season let’s be true to the joy, peace, and love it’s intended to be.

As empaths, our gift to family is our presence. The following article outlines ways we can be present with — even enjoy our non-empath family — instead of feeling like we need to numb out to be with them.


Your breath is the representation of spirit. Respiration and inspiration have the same core meaning.

From Merriam-Webster: Inspiration has an unusual history in that its figurative sense appears to predate its literal one. It comes from the Latin inspiratus (the past participle of inspirare, “to breathe into, inspire”) and in English has had the meaning “the drawing of air into the lungs” since the middle of the 16th century.

When you breathe deeply you have access to your essence. Your spirit or soul is pure love and abundance. It is patient, kind, and compassionate. You can be these things in any circumstance when you use your breath.

Hypothetical Situation #1

You roll up to your in-laws house. They’re judgey. You’re just waiting for them to say something condescending. You walk in and the remark is made. You want to say, “Hello, Helen. Happy fuck-you Holidays to you, too!”

But instead you BREATHE and let Helen talk shit because you know it has nothing to do with you. Helen secretly hates herself and has not had sex in 10 years. You are surprised by how compassionate you are in this moment. You’re able to see her as a woman with deep wounds, a woman whose breath is so shallow and tight it purses her lips. Again, you BREATHE a big deep breath, grounding yourself and being at peace in this moment.


See each person as a container for their own energy. You do not need to step into it or absorb it.

You are your own container of energy. Just because you can feel what others are feeling doesn’t mean you need to involve yourself in it. Taking a BIRD’S EYE VIEW of the room allows you to see each person as a stand-alone entity, including yourself.

Unskilled empaths feel powerless and overwhelmed when it comes to dealing with other people’s energy. Don’t be a victim. Learn to navigate your sensitivities effectively and you will no longer need to protect yourself, shut down, or avoid people.

Hypothetical Situation #2

You’re at the grocery store with your sister and her kids. They’re whiny. You’re wearing your puffy coat like a suit of armor, wishing you had a helmet, hoping no emotion gets through. You only have so much bandwidth to give to the task of grocery-getting and you can’t afford to feel anybody else’s shit.

You take a BIRD’S EYE VIEW of the situation and realize you don’t need to protect yourself from anyone or anything. They are all little self-contained balls of whatever-the-fuck and so are you. You know what’s yours, emotionally speaking, and what’s not. In fact, you can now relax and enjoy the holiday shopping. You can even unbutton your coat.


Step out to check in with yourself. Rather than checking out completely with your numb-er of choice (food, booze, television, drugs, etc) try taking little breaks.

Just like breathing, BREAKTIME is the perfect quick-fix for the empath who wants to connect with a “normal” family. They aren’t going to get you so stop trying to convince them or connect with them on a deep level. Instead, use pockets of BREAKTIME throughout the holidays to stay connected to yourself. Remember what you’re there for and stop forcing or faking things. Let them be who they are and you be who you are.

Hypothetical Situation #3

Everyone is sitting around the dinner table and the conversation turns to politics. The right-winged assholes, I mean racists, I mean Christian cousins are belligerently trying to convince you why Trump is a good role model. And why your same-sex marriage is invalid.

Your pulse is racing, your eyes are bulging out of your head and you’re about to erupt like Mt. Saint Helens with some holy hellfire on these nutjobs. Then you remember just how ignorant your cousins are. They are not espousing their own thoughts and beliefs. They’re only regurgitating what they’ve been taught. Their teacher is the television. They have no idea how to think for themselves and you can only imagine the prison their souls must be in.

So instead of fighting ignorance with anger and contributing to the low vibes (or overcrowding at the E.R.) you chose BREAKTIME. You remove yourself from the chaos and go contemplate your soul’s freedom for a minute. You give up the need to prove anything to anyone and you recognize that everyone is entitled to their opinion. You do not have to involve yourself in their hatred. You are above the low living of people who lack empathy.


They’re your family. You have something in common. Find out what that is and put energy toward it.

I know it feels like you’re from a completely different planet. You probably are and you were born into your family for a reason. On some level you chose them and as such, you would be wise to learn from them. What if you found out your great great great great great grandfather was Shakespeare or something equally as awesome? You might not ever find out the cool shit in your family history if you don’t go LOOKING for it. Get curious and find the common thread between you and them — even if you have to use all the tools in this guide to be patient and present. Whatever we LOOK for in people or situations, we find. LOOK for something interesting.

Hypothetical Situation #4

Uncle Buck is drunk and talking about the time you crapped your pants at the Fourth of July picnic. You were five but everyone seems to think it’s hilarious and that you should still be embarrassed. You want to shove a bottle rocket up uncle B’s ass. But instead you LOOK for what this group of silly fucks and you have in common. You LOOK hard. Then you LOOK even harder.

Finally you remember the best part of that summer from when you were five. You ask ol’ Buck-a-roo if he remembers building the treehouse you practically lived in. He does. You ask him to tell you all about how he, your dad, and their dad came up with the plans and brought your dream house to life. You win the holidays.


You can’t be the only one in the group who is radiating positive vibes. If you are, leave. Go to where love and the reason for the season is being shared.

Otherwise, LISTEN for the positive perspectives in people’s conversations and participate. Add to the already high vibe stories that people are telling. Your empathic gift will amplify the good energy and spread it across the room like warm honey. Connect with those who are on your vibrational level. They may need you as much as you need them.

Hypothetical Situation #5

It’s your husband’s company Christmas party. The two of you are standing with two of his colleagues. Three out of four people in your little circle are talking shit about their meager end-of-year bonuses. You leave the three of them to commiserate.

As you walk through the room you LISTEN for a group that’s happy they got a fucking bonus and slip into the circle. You LISTEN to Sheryl’s story. She’s able to fly home and be with her whole family for the first time in 8 years. Because she got a bonus. You high five her and say, “Fuck ya, Sheryl!” then share what you’re grateful for. Everyone in the circle follows your lead. Cheers, everyone.


Play with the children. But only if you actually like kids. If you’re not a fan, find the dog. I know you love doggies.

There’s no rule book that says you have to be serious or ‘on your game’ during the holidays. Let yourself PLAY and keep things light if you have a hard time doing the family thing. Make up a game or bring one with you. You can involve adults who are jolly and know how to have a good time. PLAY with the littles. PLAY with the pets. PLAY with your boobs if you’re so inclined. Just have some fucking fun. It’s the holidays, not a funeral.

Hypothetical Situation #6

You just stuffed yourself silly at the holiday meal. You could yell at the television, watching some football game you don’t give two shits about like the rest of the grown up crew or you could go outside and lead a game of hide and seek. You PLAY as a way to move your body (it will thank you later) and laugh your ass off trying to find the little peeps you’re seeking. The fun, the thrills, the smiles on your faces are all the holiday cheer you need to stay a little longer.


Do something you love that makes the day easier and more enjoyable for everyone.

Do you love to cook? Get your ass in the kitchen. Prefer to tidy up? Grab a garbage bag and go around the room. Music more your thing? Designate yourself the DJ or strum a guitar. Need a break? Walk the dog.

The point is, when you do something you love and HELP OUT you’ll feel satisfied. Contribution is always on the empath’s wish list. We love to give to others and make their lives easier. Make sure you’re also giving yourself something you enjoy.

Hypothetical Situation #7

You’re at grandma’s place. The adults are adulting. They treat you like you’re a kid. You’re 30. Instead of channelling the rebel within, you decide to HELP OUT anyway. You notice the only noise in the house is coming from uncle Buck and his backwards ass stories and the rest of the fam as they all laugh and talk nonsense. You could pop in your earbuds and tune out the white(trash) noise but your inner helper does otherwise. You hook up your phone to the speakers and play some holiday music. The Rat Pack Christmas. Then you make everyone a martini. With just the right amount of attitude.


You’re with family, right? Guess what. There are tons of people who do not get to be with their family this holiday.

Whether it feels like a gift or a curse to have the family you do, you have a family. That is a gift. You may not like some of them. They may not get you. They might treat you like a sinner or talk about the time you shit your pants. They might be cold or crass or cuckoo as fuck. But they are you family. And you are an empath. Your job is to amplify love and light in the world.

BE GRATEFUL for your gifts and give to hearts of your fellow humans. Even though the holidays may be hard and you have coped in the past by dimming down or numbing out, this year is different. You are different. You have tools and the awareness to be in a room of whatever-the-fuck and still radiate joy, love, and peace. You got this. WE got this.

And if all else fails…

Use the following 4 STEPS.


The holidays are no joke when you’re an empath. We tend to stay away or stay drunk to stay sane. That’s the old way, though. Now we can show up and be who we are with the tools in this guide. We can let others be themselves, too. By LOOKING, LISTENING, BREATHING and BEING GRATEFUL we can be fully present with our family. We can give them the gift of us. We are love. We are light. We are healers. Work your magic, my friend.


Need something tangible to help you get through the holidays — like in your hands right fucking now? Well then I have a present for you. This Self Love Checklist will help you deal with your feelings instead of being consumed by them. Download the PDF for free right now.




Intimacy Expert providing metaphysical treatments for matters of the heart. I work with CEOs & celebrities who won’t settle for less than Love. Magic. Miracles.

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Colette Davenport

Colette Davenport

Intimacy Expert providing metaphysical treatments for matters of the heart. I work with CEOs & celebrities who won’t settle for less than Love. Magic. Miracles.

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