I’m an introvert — always have been, always will be. I know I’ll continue to thrive in 2015 as an introvert, but it definitely has its challenges. And, let me tell you from years of personal experience, there is no more challenging time for an introvert than the holidays. Of course, not all introverts are the same, but one thing is for certain: after all the craziness of the holidays, my fellow introverts and I need some recovery time.
Despite assumptions to the contrary, introverts don’t hate people or talking or attention — we just have a different way of interacting with the world around us. This is particularly true when it comes to social interaction, and especially when it comes to the dreaded moments when your family asks you a series of very personal questions during Christmas dinner. Think of introverts as having a limited battery. With every party, every family gathering, every trip to the crowded mall during the holidays, our battery gets run down.
Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy the holidays as much as the next person, but this holiday season has been more of a drain on my introvert batteries than past years. Aside from eight days of Hanukkah, my boyfriend’s office holiday party (he’s in real estate, so I was probably the only introvert in the room), Christmas Day at my mom’s very extroverted side of the family, and a New Year’s Eve spent having dinner in a crowded restaurant and then at a crowded house party, I also attended my best friend's wedding, who got married in front of 135 people. You guys? I need a break.
Needless to say, I’m starting 2015 feeling a bit drained — and I doubt I'm the only one. Here are five ways introverts and non-introverts alike can recharge our figurative batteries now that the holidays are over.
1. Take some time to yourself (even if you’re not alone)
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but it’s very serious. After all the parties and shopping and smiling during small talk with Grandma, you need some time to yourself. You don’t necessarily have to be alone (although, I recommend it) — you just have to do something solitary that makes you happy. Curl up on the couch and read a book, play a video game, do a craft, or watch a movie. Do something that doesn’t involve a lot of human interaction, if any, for a little while.
2. Do something calming
My anxiety is at an all-time high during the holidays, which is why I always need to do some extra things to get myself feeling OK again after all the festivities. Go get your nails done (those massage chairs, am I right?), hit a yoga class, go for a hike, or take a walk along the beach. And if you don’t want to leave the house — driving has its own anxieties, I know — put on some relaxing music and just chill out for a while.
3. Take an extra day off work
If you’re able, think about scheduling an extra day off work after the holidays. And if you’re like me and you work from home, take a day to be unavailable save for emergencies. Even a half day will help you ease back into seeing and talking to your co-workers, clients, and boss again. Believe me, you’ll be of much more use if you’re feeling good than if you’re still feeling run down.
4. Send written thank you notes
You might be feeling obligated to call or visit any relatives you didn’t see over the holidays who still sent you cash or a present. But since the thought of taking another trip or answering the same questions about why you’re still single or when you’re going to have kids over the phone makes you want to scream, try writing and sending some nice thank you notes instead. Paper Source has some super cute ones, and everyone loves mail, right? This way, the interaction is one-sided and short lived, but you’re still keeping in touch and brightening someone’s day.
5. Unplug for a while
Look, I know that unplugging from your phone and computer and Facebook is one of the hardest things to do, especially after the holidays when everyone is posting photos of their engagement rings and vacations and New Year’s resolutions. But in this modern age, social interaction isn’t just physical anymore. Seeing, liking, sharing, and commenting on photos and statuses can be just as draining as hanging out with people. Even if it’s just for one day, maybe put your phone on silent while you take that hike we talked about.
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