How to Have a Stress Free Holiday for Introverts

November 22, 2023

I'm Jess. This blog is a collection of everything I've learned as I rebuilt my self-image from a burned-out-extrovert-wannabe to an at-ease-introvert-bookworm.
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The holidays have the potential to be magical, but there’s no denying it: they can also be a major source of stress. As introverts, we might find ourselves dreading all that’s jammed into a relatively short period of time: parties, shopping, travel, family time, etc. It’s not because we don’t love the holidays, but because even too much of a good thing can be downright draining. In order for us to enjoy all the holiday season has to offer, we have to set our terms. In this guide, How to Have a Stress Free Holiday for Introverts, I aim to detail how you can reclaim the season and enjoy it without energy drain.

How to Have a Stress Free Holiday for Introverts: Practical tips for introverted women seeking a softer holiday season.
It’s possible to embrace the festive season while safeguarding your energy.

Audit Your Calendar

Start checking your calendar early. Be comfortable saying no to things you really don’t want to attend, even if you feel like you should.

Make sure that you have time between events, too, so you can recharge.

It’s okay to prioritize some social events over others. For example, you might pick three events that are really meaningful to you and say no to the rest.

You will be a lot happier choosing to see people you want to be around instead of forcing yourself to sit through every crowded holiday party that you don’t have the energy to attend.

Define Your Boundaries

There are many boundaries you can set during the holidays to protect your energy.

One of the most powerful ones is knowing when you’ll arrive and leave ahead of time, and sticking to the schedule. You don’t need to feel guilty for leaving early or arriving a little late in order to protect your well-being.

Another powerful one is mentally noting any questions or conversations you’re unavailable for. Whether this is about politics, your work, or relationship status, you have a right to engage only in conversations that you enjoy.

If you’re struggling to find the words to set boundaries with confidence, rely on scripts that are written for you.

Brainstorm Answers to Common Questions

Avoid the pressure (and drain) of thinking on your feet by coming up with answers to common questions ahead of time.

These are some of the most frequently asked questions during the holidays:

  • What have you been up to lately?
  • What’s new and exciting?
  • How’s work?
  • Seen (or read) anything good lately?

Even though small talk can be draining, having answers ready to go makes it easier to manage.

Choose a Reset Strategy

You’ll need some self-care after attending holiday parties even if you have a great time.

Determine how you’ll reset after a taxing social event. This could be taking a day or two off of work, scheduling a solo date, or even going on a day trip by yourself.

Self-care is important for introverts year-round, but it is especially helpful during the busy holiday season when the demands on our energy are greater.

Give yourself permission to celebrate the holidays on your terms. Protect your energy and well-being as an introverted person.
It’s okay to find solace amidst the holiday rush. Don’t feel guilty about retreating to your haven for recharging during the season.

Create an Exit Plan

Yes, you need one, even at family events. Know when you want to leave a get-together, and practice a “script” beforehand.

You should say something like, “Thank you for hosting. It’s been so much fun. I’m going to head out now. Let’s connect again soon!”

During Events

Imagine that it’s the middle of a holiday party. The kitchen is packed, people are gathered in groups around the house, and you are standing somewhere off to the side, taking deep breaths and wondering how you’ll possibly make it through another few hours.

Let’s hit pause. Before you even go somewhere, consider driving there alone. It can give you much-needed headspace, so you feel less worn out by the time you already enter. Of course, if you’re traveling with family, then you may offer to let someone else drive so you don’t feel stressed by not only traffic but the social chatter along the way.

When you’re at an event, it can be helpful to check in with yourself frequently. Take bathroom breaks, head to the coat room, or go outside for a few minutes to recharge.

You should also choose just two or three people to connect with at an event. This helps you keep your social circle small and cozy and helps you avoid overstimulation. Remember, it’s okay to take breaks and give yourself a chance to breathe.

Guide: How to Have a Stress Free Holiday for Introverts
Embrace meaningful connections but don’t be afraid to embrace self-care too.

After the Holidays

Once all is said and done, make time for yourself. Part of creating a stress-free holiday season for introverts is acknowledging that we may need time to recoup even though the holidays have officially ended.

Check in with yourself to determine if you need to more time to recharge after all the holiday demands.

That might look like giving yourself a spa day, saying “yes” to staying home instead of going out, and keeping things low-key at the start of the new year.

Stress-Free Gift-Giving for Introverts

Holiday shopping can be a major headache. There are a few ways you can simplify the process and avoid all the extra stress that comes from trying to navigate packed stores.

  • Shop online. It doesn’t get easier than this, right? Make separate lists for your friends and family, then order them ahead of time. A lot of stores even offer gift-wrapping options, so you can have a package sent right to your recipient’s home!
  • Consider digital products. These are easy ways to make someone’s day without having to deal with a store. Options include printables (like journal templates, ebooks, and music).
  • Consider subscriptions. This could be a subscription to an app (like Audible), a service (like monthly massages), or a monthly delivery box (like Book of the Month). It’s a thoughtful gift that outlasts the holidays.
  • Consider donations. You can often make donations to charities and nonprofits in someone’s name. This may even include a nice certificate or keepsake gift that you can give them. Donating to a cause close to their heart is a great way to show them you care and do some good in the world at once.
  • Try antique shops for one-of-a-kind gifts. I love choosing vintage pieces for a few reasons. First, they’re more affordable. Second, they’re more unique. And third, they’re always less crowded than traditional stores, especially during the holidays.

Final Tip for Managing the Holidays as an Introvert

Remember to give yourself a gift this year: inner peace. One of the main ways to have a stress free holiday for introverts is to simplify. Simplify so you can spend time with the people who truly matter and on yourself.

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