Few people are immune from the holiday trinity of overspending, overindulging, and over scheduling. But for introverts who get their energy by spending quiet time alone, the pace of the holiday season can be exceedingly draining.
Introverts are not anti social. In fact, you would probably be surprised to learn that some of your most outgoing friends are introverts. Like me.
I found this quote about introverts to be incredibly on point.
People are frequently unaware that they’re introverts -– especially if they’re not shy — because they may not realize that being an introvert is about more than just cultivating time alone. Instead, it can be more instructive to pay attention to whether they’re losing or gaining energy from being around others, even if the company of friends gives them pleasure.
That’s me! I may need alone time more than the average person, but I also love being with friends. It’s just that being social quickly drains my batteries and I require time alone to recharge.
If you’re an introvert, recognize that even the things that you love about the holidays can wear you down. You need to build breaks into your schedule the same way you build naptime into your toddler’s day.
Here are some suggestions for introverts to make the holidays a little less stressful:
- Cut yourself slack by recognizing that being an introvert is not a choice, it’s just part of your temperament. Don’t fight it and don’t apologize!
- Try to finish most of your Christmas shopping by the first week of December. Crowded malls and crazy traffic can be introvert kryptonite.
- Calendar everything! I print out a blank month-at-a-glance December calendar so that I can clearly see the entire month. The key to this exercise is fill your blank calendar in this order:
- Add the “must attend” events first – like your child’s holiday performance at school or the family Christmas Eve gathering at your parents’ house.
- Next add the events that would be difficult to decline – like the office holiday party at your boss’s house or your BFF’s annual ornament exchange.
- Next pencil in the events that you probably could skip – like your Moms Playgroup Secret Santa gift exchange or your neighborhood’s pot luck.
- Your month may look manageable until you consider all the time intensive holiday tasks left to do. It really helps if you actually add these tasks to your calendar. I add “cards addressed/mailed,” “out of town gifts boxed/mailed,” “gifts wrapped,” “kids’ visit to Santa,” and “Christmas grocery shopping,” to the specific day that I want to complete each task. By doing this, you will get a true picture of your schedule.
- Now look for days with nothing planned. Are there any? If yes, mark them with a big X to make sure they stay that way. Those days will provide you with the critical downtime that you crave. If no, you must revisit your “probably could skip” events and decline a few.
You will be surprised at how relaxed you feel once you have a handle on December. Recognize your limitations and don’t be pressured to say “yes” to an invitation that will erode your downtime. Get comfortable with politely saying no. And make your “no” simple. It’s best to just say, “thanks, but I can’t make it,” rather than making up a complicated excuse.
Wishing all the introverts a manageable December!