The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be stressful for anyone. For an introvert, it can be overwhelming. There are so many expectations - from ourselves and from others. It is highly likely that there is more on your plate than usual. For some, there's more conflict between family members and it may not be a very peaceful time of year.
So with all this going on, how can an introvert capture that sense of joy during the holidays?
Here's my survival guide, from one introvert to another...
1. Say 'no' to Christmas parties if you don't enjoy them.
It's okay to respectfully say 'no.' I confess that I stopped going to Christmas work parties a long time ago. I don't remember enjoying any of the ones I went to. Introverts don't enjoy small talk or spending hours of time in a large, noisy group talking to people they don't know very well. We'd much prefer to spend time with people we are close to having meaningful conversations about something we're interested in or passionate about. So I do myself a favor and opt out of those work parties. You can too!
2. Make sure you have time to re-charge your batteries.
Several hours of conversation and interaction wipes us out. We can feel drained after socializing, even if we enjoyed ourselves. If we don't re-charge our batteries, it's not pretty. We can feel frazzled, stressed, anxious, irritable, and even overwhelmed if we don't respect our need for down time. We re-charge and regain our sense of balance by spending time alone doing whatever it is we like to do. This usually is reading, listening to music, watching TV, having a relaxing bath, Yoga, or taking a walk. Once our batteries are re-charged, we're ready to spend time with people we care about again. We'll even go looking for them because we value our time with them. We do like people. We just don't have much to give when we're feeling drained.
3. Guard your well-being.
Don't compromise your needs or judge yourself for being different than other people (aka extroverts). Introverts have very different needs than extroverts who re-charge by being with people. Just because our needs are different doesn't mean they are wrong or weird. Not everyone will understand your needs, but as long as you do, that's what matters. Please don't apologize for your needs or worry about what others may think about you. Self-care is #1 and it's important to increase it during the holidays. Make sure you get enough sleep, take time to exercise in a way you like. Eat well and, yes, enjoy some holidays treats. Don't deprive yourself. Pace yourself and take breaks from doing all the things that are on your to-do list. It's important to have something to look forward to every day. Even a few minutes of "you time" will go a long way in keeping your batteries charged.
Lastly, remember you can look forward to the quiet times you'll have after the holiday chaos.
And to all a good night...
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Beth Matthews is a Registered Psychologist who is driven to help people feel better about themselves. She can help you if you are struggling in your life. You can learn easy-to-use strategies to help you cope with anything that comes your way.