Grace Notes

a blog about life’s everyday magic

December 8, 2017

An Introvert’s Guide to the Holidays

An Introvert’s Guide to the Holidays

Words: Christen Hammons
Photo credit: Brooke Lark

 

There’s no time of year I love more than the days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

 

Houses are filled with the warm scents of delicious baked goods. Streets are aglow with twinkle lights. Groups of family and friends come together for dinner and some laughs.

 

It’s a busy time of year for us all, and while some people thrive in the hustle and bustle, there are others, like me, who can find it a little more than overwhelming. A quick glance at my upcoming full calendar can make me pause. The need to be socially “on” for hours at a time, as well as all the noise and sometimes confusion can be draining for introverts. As much as I love spending time with everyone I love, I know how important it is to be sure to carve out some time for myself. Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years on how to navigate the busiest time of the year without getting burned out:

 

• Set aside daily moments for yourself. During the holidays I will often stay up later than my husband and enjoy a cup of tea and a book beside the Christmas tree. If that doesn’t work, I will get up earlier than him to be sure I have a quiet moment alone.

 

• Find a quiet corner. When I attend a crowded holiday party, I will often seek out a space I can retreat to when I get overwhelmed. Most of my friends and family realize I sometimes I need a time out so they do not pause to wonder why I’ve gone to sit by myself for a minute or two. I will also occasionally grab a friend or my husband and ask them to come step away with me while I recharge a bit.

 

• Limit your commitments. You may feel pressure to agree to go to every event you’re invited to. Decide what events are your priorities and attend those. Personally, I need quiet nights at home spent wrapping gifts and watching Christmas movies, so I make sure to leave time for that.

 

• Host your own gathering. My husband and I host New Year’s every year for our friends. This allows us to plan things as we prefer, so instead of attending an overly loud, rambunctious party, we have a handful of couples over for some good snacks and a few board games.

 

 

Do you have tips for navigating through this time of year? We’d love to see them in the comments.

 

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays to you all!

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Comments ( 3 )

  1. Yvonne

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I know exactly what you mean. This year will be the first Christmas my husband and I will not be traveling. I purposely chose to keep a clear calendar this December so I could take my time with shopping, wrapping and shipping a few gifts, reading, listening to Christmas and Winter related podcasts and just enjoying quiet time doing whatever comes up. I have to say I felt a bit guilty of being selfish but got over that when I realized it’s not a selfish act to take care of yourself. It truly is the best time of the year if you take time to feel it at your own pace.

  2. jaye h.

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Like you, Christen, I love this time of year. The air we breathe in December is full of hope, anticipation and light. I love visiting friends and family sharing good food and fun; sharing memories of Christmases past. The hard part of this beautiful time of year is the expectations I impose upon myself, to be the perfect host, the friendly, happy party guest, the aunt who always plays with the children when they get bored, the generous, volunteer for holiday work events. I simply cannot do it all. I’ve tried in the past and found myself in tears throughout the holidays. Last year, I only allowed myself to schedule one evening and one daytime social event per week. I didn’t over explain myself, I simply offered my most sincere thanks for the invitation and regrets that I would not be able to join or attend. The first two invitations I turned down left me reeling with guilt, chastising myself for not being able to “do everything”. My friends managed it and even enjoyed it, what did that say about me?
    I realized, it said a lot about me, I was learning self-compassion. My mind and body had been begging me to relieve them from my holiday expectations for such a long time and I was giving them/me the gift of love and listening. I kept my promise to myself and enjoyed every moment of the holiday season, no tears, no trembling, no panic, all was peaceful and merry. I’m doing it again this year and enjoying each day of this season to its fullest.

  3. Ella

    April 19, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    I am an INFP and everything you said rings true with me. I need time out, holiday music, movies, and books to reset me. I adore the holidays, but I have to remind myself that I need these escapes to deal with the energy of the season. I find Hot chocolate, crocheting, and sitting in a cozy chair admiring the colorful lights on my Christmas tree all help me cope. It’s the most wonderful time of the year-yes, I am singing! Thank you, for sharing!

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