Christmas is coming, and there are plenty of folks who are eager to dive into all the holiday festivities. Most introverts, on the other hand, are feeling far more apprehension than eagerness as the holiday season approaches.
While the holidays can be a stressful time for introverts, there are steps you can take to manage things. The key is being pro-active and planning ahead. With some forethought and a few simple steps, you’ll be in a position to enjoy the holidays, rather then being stressed out and overwhelmed by them.
Here are 12 planning tips to help introverts get through the holidays.
1. Do your Christmas shopping early to avoid the crowds.
Crowded stores packed with last-minute shoppers rushing around can be a lot for anyone to deal with, but more so if you're an introvert. Avoid the crowds by doing your Christmas shopping early. If you must head out shopping closer to Christmas, schedule your trips for off-hours when stores are less crowded.
2. Use a shopping list to get in and out of stores quickly.
Whether you’re out shopping for gifts or doing your usual grocery run, bring a list. It will keep you focused on exactly what you need to get, so you can get in and out as quickly as possible.
3. Prepare for small talk during social gatherings.
Social gatherings typically involve small talk, especially if you’re getting together with people you don’t know very well. If you’re more introverted by nature, finding something to say each time you meet someone new can be difficult.
The solution? Prepare for small talk by coming up with some conversation starters beforehand. This eliminates the stress of needing to think on your feet. With a few questions already in mind, you can focus on the person you’re speaking with and allow yourself to be in the moment fully.
4. Keep a positive attitude when connecting with new people…
Your thoughts impact how you present yourself, both in obvious and subtle ways. If you’re walking into a gathering anticipating the worst, there’s a good chance your body language will reflect that (even if you try to hide it.)
Keep a positive attitude when connecting with new people. Be open to the possibility you might meet someone interesting and have an enjoyable conversation. This attitude will be reflected in your presentation and mannerisms. The people around you will pick up on this, both consciously and unconsciously, and this will help pave the way for pleasant interactions.
5. …but keep your expectations realistic when meeting new people.
While it helps to have a positive attitude when meeting new people, it’s just as important to have realistic expectations. This allows you to keep things in perspective, so you don’t overreact minor upsets as you socialize.
The reality is that some people are standoffish. Some people only want to chat with people they already know. Some people are borderline rude (or full-on rude.) Some people are snobby. Yes, there’s a chance you may encounter such a person at your neighbour’s Christmas party. No, it’s not the end of the world.
6. Set aside time to decompress after socializing.
Many introverts come away from social events feeling physically tired and emotionally drained. If this happens to you, plan accordingly. Set aside time to decompress after socializing, so you don’t become fully depleted.
7. Maintain a healthy diet to support your physical and mental health.
Alcohol, rich foods, and sugar-filled Christmas snacks can all take a toll on your health and well-being. A little bit of overindulgence can drag your energy down while contributing to mood swings. Note what you’re eating and how it’s affecting your body. Make sure you’re balancing all those Christmas treats with the basics: fibre-filled leafy greens and other vegetables, fresh fruit, and enough water to keep you properly hydrated.
8. Get some extra sleep if/when you need it.
As an introvert, you can easily find yourself feeling more tired than usual as you deal with all the holiday activity swirling around you. Listen to your body and get some extra sleep if/when you need it. Adequate sleep is crucial for managing stress and staying emotionally balanced.
9. Prioritize the events you get invited to.
You’ve been invited to three get-togethers this week, and you don’t feel up to attending all of them. It’s time to prioritize. How close are you to the person hosting each event? Are you closely connected with everyone else who will be attending? Is it a work-related event where your absence will be noticed?
As you prioritize events, you can assess which ones you feel comfortable saying no to.
10. Offer to connect with people one-on-one after the holidays.
If you’re like most introverts, you’re at your best when you connect with people one-one-one. Take advantage of this by offering to meet up with people after the holidays. You’ll be in your element, and it’s a great way to brighten up those January days when many people are hit with the post-holiday blues.
11. Find ways to encourage others that fit your speed and personality.
As an introvert, you have plenty of strengths and great qualities to draw on, so you don’t need to force yourself into a mold that doesn't fit. Draw on your natural strengths and find ways to encourage others that fit your speed and personality.
For example, do you enjoy writing thoughtful, handwritten notes? Use this (or whatever your natural talent is) to encourage others.
12. Treat yourself!
Find a way to treat yourself over the holidays with something you truly enjoy. Turn it into your own special tradition and make it something you look forward to every year.
Image Credits: Leonhard Niederwimmer from Pixabay
Tips for achieving optimal wellness, inside and out.