5 Ways to Survive Winter Family Gatherings as an Introvert

5 Ways to Survive Winter Family Gatherings as an Introvert

5 Ways to Survive Winter Family Gatherings as an Introvert // As an introvert, all of this social interaction can drain you and make these holidays worse off by getting cranky or grumpy from over stimulation. As an introvert myself, even spending time with just my parents for Christmas can drain me. I've compiled ways to keep yourself going during these winter holiday gatherings.

Family gatherings are a staple for the colder holidays. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate, it usually involves a long day or two surrounded by extended family you only see once a year. 

As an introvert, all of this social interaction can drain you and make these holidays worse off by getting cranky or grumpy from over stimulation. As an introvert myself, even spending time with just my parents for Christmas can drain me. I’ve compiled ways to keep yourself going during these winter holiday gatherings.

 

Updated: 11/26/2019

Rest Up Before the Event

The biggest thing you can do to get ready for a holiday event is to rest up and make sure you are at top shape before heading into a room full of extended family you may not be exactly excited to see.

If you can, keep to yourself for a day or two before your holiday event. Do your favorite solo activities, practice self care, and relax. You’re going to need all of your strength if you have to sit through stories from your Aunt Betty about her recent vacation, or all the questions your grandmother starts asking about your love life. 

Related: How to Deal With Mental Health: Take Back Millennial

 

Take Breaks When You Can

Taking breaks during a holiday event can be hard, but if you’re the kind of person that’s easily unnoticed, you can slip away to an empty bedroom or even the bathroom for a few minutes to give yourself a break from whatever your family throws at you.

Here are a few excuses you can use to take a break:

  • Escape to the bathroom farthest away from everyone
  • Slip away to a bedroom for a few minutes
  • Take a breather outside 
  • Volunteer to go grab any forgotten items at the store
  • Volunteer to take the dog for a walk
  • Suggest reading a book to a younger family member in a quieter area
  • Grab a comforting beverage of your choice (tea, coffee, beer, etc.)

Even in smaller families (like mine) you can find ways to give yourself a break when you need it.

Related: 5 Tips to Get Your Mind Back on Track

 

Come Armed With Answers to Common Questions

One of the biggest issues us introverts have is all the questions that extended family members have since they only see you this one time every year. While answering questions itself isn’t much of a problem, it’s when that pushy grandma who wants to  know why she doesn’t have grand babies or uncle who really wants to get a conversation about politics during dinner that cause the issues.

The best way to combat this is to think of all of the questions you might be asked and have some answers at the ready. Only you know your family, but the most common questions involve:

  • Relationships
  • Children
  • School
  • Jobs
  • Politics/Political Issues

You could go for the polite yet short answer route OR you could go the clap back route. Check this link or the #ThanksgivingClapBack  hashtag on Twitter 

Related: How Deal with Family Questions: Take Back Millennial

 

Know Your Limits

This is a big one. Knowing your limits and what boundaries you want to set are huge when you have a threshold for social interaction. Know how much conversation you can handle before you have to sneak off for some alone time. Know what questions you are willing to answer and which ones you aren’t. 

If you have pushy family members, you might want to have a few polite ways to deal with them in your back pocket.

If you’re reaching your limits, find ways to slip away before you reach critical limits and start a meltdown.

Related: How to Deal with Peer Pressure as an Introvert

 

5 Ways to Survive Winter Family Gatherings as an Introvert

 

Recharge After It All

The most important part of all this is to make sure you take the time to recharge and get yourself back on track after all that socializing. There’s nothing worse than being drained from a big day out socializing with family to another big day of socializing without giving yourself the time to recharge. 

Take a day or part of a day to relax and do what you want, even if that involves locking yourself in your room with your phone off.

Related: 11 Ways to Get a Good Night’s Sleep (Even in a Rowdy Dorm)

 

5 Ways to Survive Winter Family Gatherings as an Introvert // As an introvert, all of this social interaction can drain you and make these holidays worse off by getting cranky or grumpy from over stimulation. As an introvert myself, even spending time with just my parents for Christmas can drain me. I've compiled ways to keep yourself going during these winter holiday gatherings.

 

TL;DR

  • Rest up before the even you’re going to. Nothing worse than being cranky in an uncomfortable situation
  • Take breaks when you can. Maybe today your bladder is really overactive. Or you totally have no problem running to the store because Grandma forgot the cranberry sauce.
  • Arm yourself when answers to the expected questions. Most family members are going to want to know how you’re doing, how your job/schooling is going, what your relationship status is, etc. Think about how you want to answer before hand.
  • Know your limits to social interaction and pushy relatives. Change the subject or politely decline to answer further if they cross a line. No is a complete sentence
  • Recharge when you’re done. take your introverted self and hole up in your room or apartment for the next day or so to recharge. You do you, boo.

 

Do you have any other suggestions on how to deal with the winter holidays as an introvert? Have any tips on how to recharge or take a quick break away from family?

 

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XO

 

 

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. insidemegansmind

    Dealing with family can be super exhausting during the holidays since EVERYONE is there in one room. It’s like everywhere you turn there’s someone who wants to talk to you. My favorite move is slipping away to the bathroom and sitting there for a good 5 minutes on my phone. Either that or going outside to pet the cat.

    1. I’m thankful enough that I haven’t had to deal with large family gatherings in years. I just don’t have the family. lol. But even going to see my parents is draining. I’ve learned to lock my bedroom door when I’m visiting so my mom doesn’t just barge in.

  2. megfaye721

    I’m definitely going to need this this year. I’m going to my husbands house for Christmas and it will be the first time I meet his extended family (we had a small wedding and only his parents/siblings came) so I’m going to be majorly uncomfortable with my shyness and introvert tendencies.
    https://www.closet-fashionista.com/

    1. I’m secretly dreading the day I move into a serious/permanent relationship. I currently do Thanksgiving by myself, and I don’t exactly have fond memories from when I was surrounded by extended family. So I’m definitely going to keep these in the back of my mind whenever that happens to roll around. lol!

      XO Steph

    1. Thank you! I’d like to think I’m pretty good at being unnoticed and slipping out for some alone time 🙂

  3. Caitlyn Murphy

    This post was just the thing I need to read today! It is hard sometimes because you think you are the only one feeling this way about family gatherings. This reminded me that I am not alone and it is ok to take time for myself.

    1. It’s tough when you’re the only introvert in the family and have to fight for your alone time during the holidays. Hope these tips can help 🙂

  4. shannonsdays1

    This is an awesome post!! I’m not much of an introvert but Christmas is the only day I have off working retail surrounded by crazy days that don’t end for three months so as much as I want to see my family, I like to relax A LITTLE bit during the day, but between my family, my boyfriends, and his friend who’s only home for the holidays because he’s in the navy it’s such a busy day, and I especially don’t have time for arguments or drama so these tips are AMAZING! Happy holidays!

    1. I’m not in retail, but I only have Christmas Day off as well. Granted I do have weekends as a regular, but driving 3 hours to see my parents isn’t exactly my idea of fun. lol. I guess I’m thankful my sort of relationship thing is long distance so I haven’t had to factor in his family just yet. Happy Holidays as well!

  5. Michelle

    These are great tips for me even as an extrovert! While I love my family, being with them during the holidays can be draining.

    1. Definitely! If it’s draining to extroverts it’s usually so much worse for us introverts because we have a much lower threshold for social interaction.

  6. These are some great tips! The holidays stress me out because of having all the family time. I am going to try some of these ideas out this year !

    1. Let me know how it goes! I don’t really spend much time with family anymore, but these are totally things I wanted to do as a kid.

  7. Michelle Kelly

    Thank you for sharing your great tips. Here are a few of my tips of “surviving” based on my own experience.

    1.) Look at the bigger picture. Think about that in a few hours, you will not have to interact with them for another year instead of focusing on the uncomfortable social situation you find yourself in right now.

    2.) Take the initiative. Instead of sitting there letting people ask questions about yourself that you may or may not like talking about, ask the questions yourself. Make them intelligent questions that pertain to the person you are asking. People love talking about themselves and you can get them to do the talking and be the focus of attention instead of the other way around.

    3.) Keep in mind that you are not the only one there uncomfortable. Even extroverts will be uncomfortable in the same situation. They are around people they don’t really know and will find it hard to socialize. Like the saying goes “Misery loves company”

    4.) Have a reason to leave as soon as you can. Something like you have to work the next day and need to go home and get a good nights sleep. The dog is in the house and needs to be let out or feed. Whatever may prevent you from sticking around.

    5.) Look for and hang out around other introverts. Do something together that doesn’t require talking. Like watching TV.

    6.) Stay away from smaller groups of people and hang out around bigger groups. The smaller the group more likely you will be become the focus of attention, but in a larger group you can blend in and pretend your listening instead of having to talk.

    7.) If you are a smoker, take frequent smoke breaks. A good reason to leave the situation and be outside by yourself.

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