The Introvert's Guide to Enjoying the Holidays

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This time of year can be meaningful, fun and a chance to create special memories. At the same time, enjoying the holidays, and its busy social calendar, can be a challenge for those of us on the more introverted end of the energy spectrum.Introverts are energised by spending time alone. Note: this is not the same as being shy or antisocial. Instead, it’s about where you derive your energy. If you’re someone who thrives through social interaction and stimulation, chances are you’re an extrovert. If you have a ceiling (especially in large group situations or around people you don’t know) and reach a point where you need to take a break to decompress, you’re probably more of an introvert.During the holidays, more so than any other time of year, there’s a lot of pressure to be a social butterfly, do all the things and attend all the events. If you’re wondering about making the most of the next few weeks and enjoying the holidays without running out of steam, here are a few suggestions:

Start by asking: how do I want to feel?

If we feel a sense of trepidation about what the holiday season will be like, we can spend so much time worrying about the worst-case scenario we lose sight of how we want to feel. In this scenario, we can start to feel like the holidays are something that happen to us, rather than an experience we can choose. Shifting our focus back to how we want to feel and what we want to experience puts us back in the driver’s seat, centred on what we want to create instead of what we want to avoid.

Prioritise the activities and commitments that evoke those feelings

Now you know how you want to feel, prioritise the activities and commitments that will evoke those feelings for you. Look at what’s worked in the past (and what hasn’t), and start with that. Pay extra special attention to the things on your When Life Works List. For the activities and commitments that tend to evoke undesirable feelings, think about whether there's a way you can reframe your experience to make it more enjoyable or consider declining this year.

Get clear on group needs and expectations

When we’re in group situations where everyone has different needs and expectations, it’s super helpful to get clear on what those needs and expectations are. That starts with knowing what everyone wants to get out of the time spent together.When my husband and I take a trip or a staycation, we get clear on what we each want to get out of the time and how we’d ideally like to spend it. This helps us be aware of each other’s vision and expectations. Then, we do our best to create a win-win situation where we can both get what we want.

Honour your energy

If you’re energised by spending time alone, honour that. Just because everyone else is still going strong doesn't mean you have to.When you're feeling drained by a social situation, forcing yourself to carry on will only leave you feeling more drained. Rather than getting to the point where you want to bite everyone’s heads off and/or disappear down the back of the sofa for eternity, take a break or bow out. No one else will take care of your energy for you. Take charge of nurturing your energy and you’ll find the holidays are a lot more enjoyable.

Make the most of micro-breaks

On the days when you find yourself in social butterfly mode, focus on micro breaks for a quick recharge. This might look like 10 minutes in the bathroom, a quick walk down the street, or a 20-minute read alone in your room. The kind of break you take doesn’t matter so much as giving yourself a breather and chance to recharge. We’re not only likely to enjoy the holidays a lot more if we do this, but we’re also likely to be a nicer person to be around!What suggestions do you have for enjoying the holidays as an introvert? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.Further reading: Let's All Stop Apologising for These Things... & How to Thrive as an Introvert with Tanja Gardner


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