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.
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.
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:
- Politics/Political Issues
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.
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.
- 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?