The holiday season is upon us and well on its way. Even though this is the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays can also be the most stressful time of the year especially if you’re an introvert. There is nothing I love more than Christmas, but I find myself feeling more drained during this time of year. Sometimes it just feels like I’m trying to stay in “surviving the holidays as an introvert mode”. I want to enjoy the holidays how I want to but find myself feeling guilty about how those around me want me to spend it. Then I end up being more grumpy than jolly.
I didn’t want this to happen again this year so I’m taking extra steps to feel more in control of myself and the situations this holiday season without losing my mind. It’s not so holly and jolly when you’re feeling guilty for saying no to things you don’t want to do. And it’s also hard. I’m a naturally guilty person and I tend to be a “yes-women” because I’m also a people pleaser. While these traits are beneficial to other people, they don’t do me much good. Where there is a revelation there are changes to shortly follow…
Here’s to surviving the holidays as an introvert
Decide When to Leave Before You Go
If you’re going to a party or family gathering by yourself, with family, or a significant other make sure to decide on a time to leave before you get to the event. If it’s not my family, I feel rude asking the person I came with if we can leave. I don’t want the hosts and other people at the event to feel like I don’t want to be there or that I’m taking the person I came with away. Because those are never my intentions. I’m easily overwhelmed in large group settings. So, it’s best to establish an end time.
Find a Spot for a Few Minutes of Quiet
This is something I do pretty much year-round. Like I just mentioned, I can get easily overwhelmed with a lot of people and sometimes all the conversations happening at once just gets to me and I get the urge to just go away. To step away and have a few minutes to myself in quiet and hear myself think. And only me. I typically just escape to bathrooms for a bit of quiet.
Do What You’re Comfortable With
There are a lot of times that I feel pressured to add to a conversation. People can be talking and while I’m trying to listen, all I hear in my head is that I should be chiming in. If I don’t chime in they’ll think I’m disinterested or snobby because I’m not engaging with them. But honestly, most of the time I really don’t have anything of significance to add to the conversation.
This has been something I’m working on because the thoughts were getting very overwhelming and I was already overwhelmed, and it was a vicious cycle of panic. Not everyone is a social butterfly and that’s okay. That’s other people’s strength and it might not be yours, but you have strengths that they don’t have. Basically, what I’m getting at is that you do what you’re comfortable with and ignore what others may be thinking.
Surviving the Holidays as an Introvert
You’re Allowed to Say No
If you’re invited to several gatherings throughout the season, you don’t have to go to every single one. I know it can feel like you should, but you don’t. Choose the top ones that you want to go to and say no to all the other ones. You’ll get burnt out if you try to do it all and then how will the holidays be fun if you’re running on fumes? And if the person gets mad that you’re not coming to their party, they’ll either get over it and it will be fine, or they won’t and then you won’t be friends with them; which that’s okay too because no one wants a friend like that in their life.
Spend Time with Smaller Groups Than Larger Ones
Maybe you’re wanting to go to all those fun parties you’re invited to, but the thought of spending time with all those extra people at the parties that you don’t really know sounds absolutely dreadful. Try setting up times to spend time with those people you want to see in smaller groups as opposed to larger ones. Large groups can drain introverts faster than my iPhone battery because that’s not how they recharge. Extroverts recharge when they’re with other people whereas introverts recharge when they’re alone. So, try minimizing the number of people you spend time with and keep it to the ones you truly want as much as you can.
You Don’t Have to Answer Uncomfortable Questions
My new favorite thing to say to people when I’m not comfortable answering a question is simply and politely, “I don’t really want to talk about this right now”. Around Thanksgiving is when the memes start circling like, “No [insert family member here] I don’t have a boyfriend/girlfriend. Yes, I bought these jeans with holes. Yes, I work and go to school and am still poor…” and it’s true that families can bombard you with a lot of questions.
While it can be malicious sometimes, it also could be because they haven’t seen you in a while and they’re just trying to catch up on your life. But if your family, or anyone, asks you something that you don’t want to answer just either say you don’t know or be honest and say that you don’t want to talk about that right now. Even if it’s your family, you don’t have to answer everything they ask you.
Take Care of You
Self-care is important year-round but it’s especially crucial around the holidays. After all the socializing and you feel drained, the best thing to do is have a “me day” and take time for yourself. Do the things you enjoy doing and make you feel good – and you can make it holiday-themed for extra fun!
And when all else fails, there’s always wine, am I right? Just remember to take care of you. You deserve to enjoy your holiday time just as much as extroverts are.
What are some of your go-to ways of surviving the holidays as an introvert?