For so many of us introverts, Christmas time can be a bit of a nightmare.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the cosy vibes, the curling up by the fire, the pretty twinkly lights – but the social expectations of the season can completely weigh us down.
There comes a point where it seems like there’s a commitment every day of the week and we’re meeting an endless carousel of people, making endless conversation and getting completely overwhelmed with the whole experience.
Of course we want to see friends and family at this time of year, but we also don’t want the holidays to be an exhausting time for us. Introverts deserve to feel rested after the holidays too! Here are some of our tips and tricks for handling the holidays season while also maintaining your boundaries and not ending up an overwhelmed and exhausted mess by the end of it!
Have topics at hand
Doing a little work beforehand can go a long way over Christmas when you get stuck in conversation with those family members that you see once a year. That uncle who’s into the local sports team and his grandkids?
Find out as much as you can before you visit at their house so you’ll have plenty of topics to talk about! The granddaughter just started playschool? Their local team lost this weekend? I find that usually if you ask someone about themselves and their interests, they’re more than happy to talk away and all you have to do is listen! Avoid the awkward pauses this Christmas by always having a question or two at hand.
Have strict schedule boundaries
Just because everyone is going to that party this year, doesn’t mean you have to. You know best what will make you feel happy at this time of year and if over-scheduling parties and events isn’t it, then keep strict boundaries around what you expend that energy on.
We’re not saying hole up on your own for Christmas, but if your friends are planning two or three nights out, you don’t have to go to all of them. Christmas is a time for catching up with people of course, but it’s also a time of rest and relaxation. Just because your type of rest doesn’t involve other people, doesn’t mean it’s not as valid as anyone else’s. Don’t be afraid to assert yourself and your priorities this season.
Have an exit strategy
If it all becomes too much or you just hit your limit with loud music, people or games, then always have a plan to leave when it becomes overwhelming. Relying on someone else for a lift can be a pain when you just want to leave and they’re doing the old Irish goodbye.
Have your own way home and also some excuse for leaving, even if it’s just ‘I’m tired.’ People will understand, especially during the festive season, because we’re all at full tilt with plans, shopping and socialising.
Have an occupation
If you dread the noise and mess of the big family board game session, then have a little occupation or something to keep you busy during that time. If your family know and respect your boundaries, they won’t mind if you disappear off to the kitchen for a bit or watch from afar with a book beside the fire.
Let family know how you’re feeling
It’s a tough but fun time of year for introverts. If your family don’t understand why some nights you’d rather stay home than go out for the big family gathering, help them to understand.
Explaining that, although your mother may gain energy and feel great meeting up with all the family, for you it can be draining, although you love to see them. Explain that you prefer smaller groups and more intimate settings. That this doesn’t mean you don’t want to be around them, it just means you need more time to restore your energy after a party than others and that now and again you just need time out. Sitting down and talking it out can make a huge difference in how they interpret your introversion.