28 Jun Introvert Holiday Survival
Holidays bring a variety of emotions for many people, for so many reasons.
There are family and friend gatherings, office parties, more crowds in stores and lots to get done. Holiday stress aside, this can be a challenging time for introverts. From Thanksgiving until New Year’s, there’s often much socialization to be done.
What’s an introvert?
The short answer is someone who feels drained from being around people (even if they love those people and enjoy their time together), and needs alone time to recharge. An extrovert, on the other hand, gains their energy from being around people and can feel drained after alone time. The introvert-extrovert personality trait is a spectrum, with people falling anywhere in between.
It can be tricky for introverts to navigate spending time with loved ones, committing to holiday parties, not wanting to be seen as “stand-offish,” while finding enough “me” time to end the holiday season without being totally drained.
If you’re an introvert living in an extroverted family, or around extroverted social situations (let’s face it, it’s an extroverted world), here are some tips for surviving the holidays with your energy intact.
Start the season grounded and relaxed.
Yoga, meditation and breathing exercises are great ways to get your mind and body centered. Continue this through the season to help stay relaxed. Consider scheduling (and pre-paying for) a yoga class ahead of the holidays as an “excuse” to get away. Or invite your friends or family to join, so you can spend time together but be separate, and share the health!
Getting a massage or other types of manual therapy are other great ways to balance your nervous system and start the season relaxed. Craniosacral therapy and visceral manipulation are two types of gentle body-work that are great for releasing tension stored throughout the body, rebalancing the nervous system (shifting the “fight or flight” tendency into the “relaxation” state), and helping the body recovering from stress.
Finding introvert balance during the holidays
While you’re in the middle of the holiday rush, the trick is to sneak in “introvert time” wherever you can. Volunteer for grocery store runs, seclude yourself in an extra room or bathroom for as long as you can get away, organize a post-meal walk and stay towards the back of the group. Continue your breathing exercises during these times!
Dr. Lara Thompson, ND likes using affirmations & Emotional Freedom Technique (or EFT Tapping) as other tools for grounding or releasing stress. She also recommends carrying stones for grounding and protection, such as obsidian, smoky quartz and jasper.
Bach flower essences can be helpful too – Rescue Remedy for stress or Elm for feeling overwhelmed. She also finds importance in trying to be part of the planning process so you can enjoy the activities you participate in, as opposed to feeling dragged along or forced in to it. Practice saying no when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Let’s talk about it
At the very least, start having conversations with friends and family about introverts & extroverts in general, and what it’s like for you to go through the world as an introvert. Many people are unaware of these personality traits and it may take time, patience, and a lot more conversations before it starts to sink in. For more information or ideas on how to talk about introversion, check out Quiet Revolution or this article from the Atlantic.
If you are able, schedule a day or two off work once your holiday plans are over for some quiet, introverted “you” time. Either way, allow yourself plenty of rest and alone time. Plan solo activities that nourish your soul and bring you joy, whether it’s reading on the couch, walking in the woods, a new crafting project or nothing at all. Take note of how long it takes you to feel like being around people again so you can prepare yourself for the next big socialization season.
So take a deep breath, keep up with your self-care practices, enjoy time with friends and family, and think about that precious alone time that’s coming in a just a few weeks… I wish you peace and happiness, quietly, from the comfort of my own home.
What are your introvert holiday survival tips? Comment below or find me on social media to let me know!
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Dr. Julia Hipp
Bellingham Naturopathic Medicine
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