Feeling anxious about all the extra demands that come at this time of year? Worried that your idea of enjoyable and guilt-free holiday looks different from others' idea of a joyeux noel, because you are an introvert?
Family or friends want you to join in their fun, and you're anxiously wondering if there is something wrong with you that you are dreading the next 2 or 3 weeks.
I'm a somewhat energetically sensitive introvert, and frankly, the December holidays are nothing I look forward to. The crowds everywhere, the bright lights and blaring music, the extra crazy traffic, the last minute pressures, the obligtory spending creating resentment and stress .... all of it drains me. In total, there is very little holly jolly for me in trying to meet others' social expectations.
I know I'm not alone in feeling this way.
What can you do to celebrate in ways that aren't all about making everyone else but you happy? I have some thoughts on that.
Beg Off All Invitations that Don't Excite You
It's really okay to decline the parties and dinners that make you cringe the moment you hear they are being planned. If you don't feel eager to attend, don't force yourself into it. You'll feel miserable and resent getting trapped into going.
Make Your Own Plans
Deciding to take the day, evening, weekend, or week for yourself would be honoring your authenticy, your emotional and energetic limits, and your own desires. It's not selfish to take care of yourself. It's wise and healthy.
So plan to finish a book, watch a bunch of movies, bake cookies, start a memoir, or catch up on sleep. These are your plans. When you decline invitations, simply say you already have plans. You don't have to disclose what they are.
Arrange a Lunch Out For Another Time
Introverts often get sucked into social events because we don't want to disappoint, don't want anyone mad at us, or because we feel it might be insulting or seen as snobby to decline. But why not make a counter invitation?
Imagine how it would feel to you to say -- Oh, I'm so sorry, I have plans for that night, but I'd love to take to you lunch in January when things less frenetic.
Spending time alone refreshing your spirit is limited only by your imagination. Make it a special time with your favorite foods, treats, and drinks. Do what makes your heart sing, or what replenishes your energy.
Extend Yourself on Your Terms
Being an introvert who is being authentic to herself during the holidays doesn't necessarily mean being alone, even if you do decide to avoid the large social gatherings.
If it feels soul connecting to you, the season might be a perfect opportunity to extend yourself to a shut in elderly neighbor. Take them a cookie plate or some sparkling juice.
Be a Holiday Angel
One of my favorite introvert activities during the last few weeks of the year is to take myself to lunch several times and leave an enormous tip in a large denomination bill inside a card addressed to the wait person, or bar tender. I write a little note in advance, thanking them for their cheerful service that brightened my day, and wishing them many more magical surprises in the coming year.
You can make the holiday celebrations fit your introvert style. And if find yourself on Dec. 25 or Jan 1 wanting a little human contact, I'll have some more ideas for you. Email me.