Do the holidays have you feeling anxious and exhausted already? All the chit chat and small talk and having to be cheerful and joyous – I feel exhausted just thinking about it! While it can be tempting to forgo all of the holiday events, connection and relationships are very important to our wellbeing; so, don’t isolate this holiday season! Plan for your emotional success instead. We introverts need to be strategic in how we exert our energy so that we can enjoy the holiday season without having to crash on the couch for days afterward in order to reenergize and reconnect with ourselves. Stop worrying about what you’ll talk about with strangers at parties, and focus on what’s important to YOU this holiday season. Here are a few tips to help you plan your holiday season so you can thrive instead of hide.
Step 1: Create boundaries for yourself, and be comfortable with saying no to some invitations. What is important to you this holiday season? You want to go to parties that feel fulfilling rather than draining? You want to enjoy yourself instead of worrying about what you’ll talk about? Determine what you want this season, and plan for your success. If this means saying no to half the parties you’re invited to, then do it. Decide which gatherings you don’t want to miss, and say no to the rest. Seriously. Do it. Don’t worry about what you’re supposed to do or be, and focus on what will bring you the most joy.
Step 2: Quality over quantity. Start out talking with one person or a small group of people who you feel are worth talking with, instead of trying to get a word in edgewise within a larger group of acquaintances. For introverts, small talk is exhausting, and meaningful, quality conversations are energizing. So, look for someone that you know and talk with them. Better yet, see if they can connect you with others who share similar interests in Greek philosophy or Stephen King novels or current events.
Step 3: Know your worth! I think there is some shame around being an introvert because we will likely never be the life of the party. However, being more quiet and reserved doesn’t mean that you’re not an interesting and worthwhile person to talk with. If you’re feeling nervous or anxious about attending a party where there will be a large number of people, repeat a mantra to yourself that feels true. Maybe this mantra is “I am worthy” or “I am interesting” or “I’m awesome!”
Step 4: SELF CARE, SELF CARE, AND MORE SELF CARE. If you’re drained after a large, overwhelming party, treat yourself to some alone time where you can gather your thoughts and re-energize. Take a bath with a book, journal, play an instrument, or just climb under the covers with a book or TV show and center yourself. Though it’s tempting, try to avoid using this time as a judgement-fest, thinking to yourself “shit, why did I say that dumb thing?”, etc. This is a time to give yourself some kindness, not some berating bullshit.