5 Tips For Introverts During The Christmas Period

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There's no doubt that between the parties, after-work drinks, and mandatory family time, the festive period can be exhausting for anyone, but especially for those who value alone time. However, there are a few ways to get through the next month without burning out. Here are five tips for getting through Christmas as an introvert, because taking yourself away from all the merriment might be the best gift you can give yourself.

As Bustle has previously reported, there is a difference between being social anxious and being an introvert. "Social anxiety is driven by fear and gets in the way of living your life," counsellor Laura Albers told Bustle back in February 2019. "You will avoid or leave social situations for fear of judgment by others or desire to avoid possible embarrassment or feeling awkward. With introversion, there is simply a preference to unwind in more solo, often quiet activities." This means that it's more than possible to enjoy yourself during Christmas if you're an introvert, but you need to be aware of when its time to take a step back.

Take me, for example, I love this time of the year. Hand me a glass of bucks fizz and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and I’ll be very happy. However, I’m under no illusion that, as an introvert, if I don’t get a bit of time to myself, I’m no fun. And alone time seems to be the one thing that’s lacking at this time of the year. If you want to make the most of your Christmas social calendar as an introvert, below are sine helpful hints to getting through it without wearing yourself out.

1. Set yourself some boundaries beforehand

Keeping a closer eye on your calendar as invitations to Christmas parties pile up could save you some awkward phone calls in a few weeks time. Instead of overcommitting to three parties a week throughout December, plan out your month so you’re not completely talked out by the end of the first week. “A common misconception is that introversion is the same as shyness or social anxiety,” said Tabitha Kirkland Ph.D. said on the University of Washington School of Medicine's Right as Rain website. She continued, "but it’s really about how you get your energy.” Don't waste yours on parties you don't want to be at. Commit to the ones you really care about, and plan a few nights in to get some proper alone time and a good night's sleep on the other days.

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2. You don't have to say yes but don't always say no

The temptation to say no to everything and hide away with mulled wine and good book at this time of the year is so real. However, saying yes when you sometimes don’t want to could be good. Psychiatrist Amanda Focht M.D said on Right as Rain. “If you have the urge to bail at the last minute, try not to. Over time, your brain will realise these parties and the people at them aren’t a threat, and the socialising may get easier.”

3. Know your main pals are going

It’s normal to feel a little apprehensive before a party or festive gathering. However, knowing that either a partner, a BFF, or a set of tight friends who you can be real with are going can be a massive safety net. Whether its bonding over how awkward you all feel or chatting about what you’re going to do when you get home and can put your PJ’s back on, having your people there will ease you into the event.

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4. Set a minimum time to spend at party

Turning up to a social occasion and feeling awkward is the worst. It’s so tempting to think, “I’ll show my face, do the rounds and then sneak out.” However, setting yourself a time that you can leave will give you something to work towards. And if you ended up getting engrossed in the festivities and staying longer, it's a win win.

5. Have an escape plan — just in case

Although you should try as hard as you can to hang around at the party, there's no shame in leaving if it all gets way too much. And having an escape plan is a good idea ahead of time, just in case. It’s awkward marching over to your other half or friend to say you want to go, so create a code word or signal that'll mean you can leave discreetly. On top of that, you should let your host know ahead of time if you're feeling antsy about being there too long, that way they won't feel put out if you have to slip away.

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Whether you’re an introvert or not, the Christmas period can be pretty tiring. There’s so much to think about on top of your usual day-to-day obligations. But by prioritising your time and rest as highly as you do parties and dinners, Christmas could be a little less draining this year.