If you can’t “people” for longer than a couple of hours at a time…
If answering the question, “What are you up to these days?” from your grandmother one too many times makes you a little cray cray…
If your favorite saying is, “One is perfect…two or more is way too many”…
You might be an introvert during the holiday season.
I know, I know. It’s a trying time for us all.
I got chuuu.
We’re in this together, and we will make it out of the holiday season alive, even if we have to skip out on “coffee and conversation” time with relatives…just to keep our sanity.
I love my family. Seriously, they’re the bomb.com, but a girl needs her peace—and privacy. Which is tough for an introvert who’s ideal holiday moment includes stuffing her face with sausage balls like there’s no tomorrow and watching The Year Without a Santa Clause—alone.
And while I love chatting and smiling over turkey and dressing, and reminiscing over pecan pie isn’t too painful, I can only handle so much.
This chick’s got her limits.
And I’m betting you do, too, or you wouldn’t be here reading this. If you were an extrovert or just a super outgoing introvert, you’d probably be looking up a recipe for pumpkin spice truffles on Pinterest right now. By the way, you’re welcome.
So how does an introvert navigate all of the holiday cheer without coming off anti-social or…gasp, downright Scroogy? Ew. That’s not a cute look.
Surviving the Holidays as an Introvert: 11 Essential Life Hacks11 Essential Life Hacks to Survive the Holidays as an IntrovertClick To Tweet
1 | Insist on “me time.”
Girl, get your life together and be demanding—just this once, ‘kay? You’ve probably heard the phrase, “You gotta go after what you want.” Well, you have to demand that you get some space and time to yourself. Not in a rude way, of course. I’m not about that life. But this is not the time for people-pleasing.
You can make yourself scarce without being rude about it.
Look for a discreet opportunity for some “me time” and snatch it up.
Take a walk or a short drive.
I’ve noticed a couple of my family members doing this over the years. Maybe they, too, are just looking for any excuse to get away from the loudness and chatter of a big family during the holidays or maybe they’re trying to burn off some mashed potatoes and gravy (duh, to make room for more). Whatever the reason, it works.
If you can’t get too far by car, you can still find your way out from the peopleness—just by getting outdoors. Take in some fresh air, renew your mind, and try not to kill nobody.
Offer to help out.
Yeah, the holidays are supposed to be relaxing, but with all of the extra people around and food being eaten, there’s a lot more work involved to keep things running smoothly. And unfortunately, that work load usually falls on the shoulders of only one or two people.
There’s no reason why only some people should be doing all this work. Instead, it would make a lot more sense if a group shared in the effort. Give your parents or relatives a rest and pitch in. Tell them to go relax and catch up on a conversation with others; you’ll clean up the kitchen from a previous meal or straighten up the living area from your teenage cousins’ impromptu wrestling match.
This is a good way to ease the pressure off whoever has been shouldering the load of caring for everyone else and also to steal a few quick moments to yourself.
Catch some Zzzz’s.
I thought I’d end with the most likely option, because when all else fails…take a nap. I’m pretty sure there’s a quippy slogan in there somewhere.
Sometimes the best cure for a long day filled with excess socializing is much-needed down time in the form of an afternoon siesta. If possible, slip away to your room (if you’re at home) or even your car (if you’re not at home) and take a quick break from all the happy festivities.
No one needs to know your family makes you exhausted.
It can be our little secret.
2 | Buddy up.
If all that demanding for “me time” you did up there only got you a stern look from your mother, take heart. There are other alternatives to surviving the holidays as an introvert. You may not be able to find that precious solitude, but you can still de-stress even if you’re hanging out with another person. I present: the buddy system.
Find your person and escape the chaos together.
Even though we introverts recharge by being alone, most of us do have that one person (who is likely a fellow introvert) who is easy to be around, and instead of draining us, they can actually recharge our “relational battery.” (Yup, I just made that up…but it has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?) Seek this person out and maybe get away from all the hub-bub and family-loving-togetherness-woo and escape to a local coffee shop to soak in the ambiance and chill vibes, sip on your favorite latte, and have a quick chat with “your person.”
Or that walk I mentioned before? It can still be enjoyable with someone else. Take your favorite cousin along for some quality time. Don’t feel pressure to keep a conversation going; talking isn’t always necessary. They may have been looking for an opportunity to get away for a little while, too.
Play a game.
And no, before you say it, I’m not talking post-Thanksgiving-meal football. If you just aren’t able to slip away for a quick breather, try a low-energy game for a different way to spend your time. Choose a game that requires only two people—any more than that, and you risk drawing a crowd, which is no bueno.
Cards and checkers make great choices. Neither game is loud—unless you’re uber competitive, haha—which is great for introverts, and there’s no need to talk very much while playing. These are both good options because they don’t necessarily require a lot of thinking. They’re games you’ve played so many times that they can almost be played on “autopilot”, allowing you the time to be in your thoughts and rest.
Even drawing, though technically not a game, is a perfect way to unwind but still be in companionship with another person. Spend an hour in silence, drawing whatever comes to mind, and I can guarantee you’ll feel ready to join in the crowd again.
Growing up, one of my cousins and I would always be together for one of the two major holidays of the year: Thanksgiving. After eating our fill of everything pumpkin flavored and watching way too many reruns of America’s Next Top Model, we’d eventually find ourselves pretty bored.
So, out came all the craft supplies. My aunt and cousin have always been huge crafters and makers, and I’ve always loved seeing how their brains thought up these elaborate projects and designs and how they were actually able to carry these projects out and make them really interesting and beautiful.
In our moments of introversion (wanting to be together but not really wanting to chit-chat a whole lot) my cousin and I have done—and glued—it all.
Over the years, my cousin and I have:
- worked through pre-made cross stitch designs. (For those of you who don’t know what cross stitching is, read up on this neat little hobby.)
- tried knitting. Side note: the scarf I’ve been working on for the last decade remains unfinished.
- experimented with latch-hooking. (By the way, what is with our obsession for needle-related craft projects??)
- created hand-painted window art…that stuck to the window. Don’t ask me why, but it gave me hours of amusement.
- made extremely lumpy (or avant-garde?) clay works of art.
- made countless numbers of friendship bracelets. Another side note: I once tried to go into the business of creating custom friendship bracelets in the second grade. You could choose all your colors and your specific design, and I would also come up with a unique name for each bracelet. Strangely enough, it never really took off…
Now, I’m wishing I had pictures of all of our craftiness. They were such fun memories.
In a similar way to playing games (another of my family’s traditions), you can explore your creative side with laid back interaction. Creating is an easy-going, quiet activity, and one of my favorite things to do to unwind for this very reason. So if the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade just ain’t doin’ it for you anymore, crafts may be just the distraction you need.
What’s something you’ve been wanting to try your hand at? You could even use this as an opportunity to make a home-made gift for someone. When in doubt, Pinterest it out. Or try making this DIY Anthropologie-inspired hot chocolate on a stick as a cute gift.
Erase that horrified look from your face. I’m certainly not recommending you fight your way through the pure, unadulterated hell that is in-your-face retail shopping during the holidays.
No. What kind of friend would I be if I did that? One that secretly hopes for your untimely demise, that’s what kind.
I’m talking Black Friday shopping from yo’ couch. The only type of shopping that should be done during this time of the year.
Okay, so a little back story:
Every year when my relatives spend Thanksgiving with us, we wake up on Black Friday and we usually go nowhere. I mean, we’ve braved the holiday crowds before but decided that really wasn’t our scene. Been there, done that. Got the t-shirt. I mean, elbowed someone in the face for the t-shirt…
Instead, we Black Friday shop from the safety of our home, like the professionals we are.
I’m talking hours. Hours go by, and we don’t even notice. We’re just kind of all “introverting” in our own little world of holiday shopping discounts and deals. Every now and then, someone will pop their head up out of a magazine or from their laptop to exclaim something like,
“Walmart has power tools going for less than $50!! This is what dreams are made of, people!“
“You can get the whole Harry Potter DVD box set on Amazon for only $39.99?! What?? Sheer insanity!!“
But other than that, it’s a perfect picture of us sipping our residual morning coffee and stalking Amazon—in silence.
Was there ever anything more beautiful?
I know you were probably quick to nix this shopping idea, but it’s starting to sound a little more appealing, right? Obviously, this will only work if you like to shop, or still have Christmas presents to buy, etc. But I’ve found it to be the perfect way to get in some quality family time and be “in the mix” without actually needing to interact quite as much. Surviving the holidays as an introvert doesn’t mean you have to be by yourself.
For an introvert, sometimes all we want is to be in and around all the excitement, not to be an active participant. I know I often have just as much fun watching people socialize—if I’m smack dab in the middle of things—so long as I can kick back and take it all in on my own terms.
3 | Get outside your own head.
Sometimes, the worst part about being introverted is that we have a knack for getting caught up in our thoughts, and we let our negative mindset bring us down. So, how do you avoid this? If you find yourself going to a gloomy place, the best way to combat this is to get your thoughts and feelings out in a way that feels most comfortable and helpful to you.
Write down your thoughts.
When you’re around a large group of people or have a lot of family together in one place for an extended period of time, all of your relational energy can get used up fast, and it can be overwhelming. If you find that you’re overextended as far as mingling with others goes, you may want to try journaling.
Often, it’s helpful just getting thoughts down on paper; you may even write things down that you didn’t know you were thinking or feeling. Some of the best advice I can give you if you decide to journal is to don’t think; just write. Even if it’s nonsense at first. Even if you feel a little silly doing it.
I know when I write, I feel a lot more clear-headed, and it helps me to separate my emotions from my thoughts and get more clarity on a situation.
Use your journaling time to write down anything and everything: random thoughts or goals, wishes, or troubles. You could also use this time to create an intentional daily schedule.
Talk to someone.
If writing isn’t your thing, try talking to someone whom you’re close to and can trust. I know it can be really hard to be vulnerable, but in my experience, it’s SO worth it.
Call up a close friend or pull your mom aside amidst all the hoopla. You deserve to voice how you’re feeling, and you deserve to have someone listen to you. It doesn’t have to be a serious conversation, unless you want it to be. It can be light-hearted and still leave you feeling refreshed and ready to be sociable again. Sometimes all it takes is a few moments of being understood by someone, someone who hears what you’re saying and makes you feel like you matter. Those are some of my favorite conversations to have.
If you don’t have someone you can go to for a heart-to-heart (or just a funny chat), I’m all ears, babe. I’d love to talk with you! Let’s do a virtual coffee date, okay?
Listen to music.
I mentioned in my confessions of an introvert that music is one of my favorite escapes. There’s just something about putting on my favorite song and soaking up all that goodness that leaves me in an extremely happy state of mind.
No matter my mindset, music almost always puts me in a better mood—a mood where I’m nice to other people and say nice things. Isn’t that what we all need a little bit more of during the holidays? I know I do.
So whip out that Taylor Swift playlist you’ve been hiding. I know you have one.
During the holidays, exercising is usually the last thing on people’s minds. I get it. You’re trying to indulge in #alltheholidaygoodies, and thinking about jogging or push ups is going to totally harsh your vibe.
But I know whenever I’m stressed out or feeling a lil’ down, if I do 30 minutes of yoga or cardio, those endorphins get me feelin’ good again.
The good thing about exercise is that you can do whatever you want to fit your body’s or your mind’s needs at the time, and you don’t need a lot of space to do it. You can stretch it out, get all bendy in your room, and find your “om”, or you can go for a short run (instead of the walk I mentioned above) to get your heart pumping and shake off any negative energy.
I hope you found some of these ideas and tips helpful for you or got some inspiration for your own ways to take time for yourself during this season. The holidays can be a stressful time for most people, especially for those of us who don’t always appreciate the extra activities, excitement, and upset to our normal schedules.
I want to also take the time to point out that even though we may look for opportunities to get some peace and quiet, let’s remember that the holidays only come once a year. Some of us (myself included) only see certain family members about once a year—some even less! However tempting it may be to give into our introverted tendencies, that’s not what this time of the year is all about. The holidays are for loving on each other, enjoying the festive atmosphere, and taking time to remember what’s truly important to each of us.
When you’re seeking out those moments to have to yourself, just remember to be respectful of others when voicing your needs and above all, be kind.
If you’re still in need of more ideas for ways to get in that quality “me time” during the next month or two, I’ve created a list of 30 self care ideas for the winter months.
What do you do to survive the holidays as an introvert and unwind during busier times of the year? Did you get any inspiration from my list? What could I have added? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂
In the meantime, let’s get to know each other better.