Words: Victoria Mcewan
Feature Image: Kilarov Zaneit
Summer is long behind us, gone are the hazy day of soaking up the sun rays. The clocks have turned back, we’ve carved our pumpkins, feasted our sights on dazzling displays of fireworks and now the festive season is hurtling towards us as fast as this year has gone by. Here come the bustling streets, Christmas markets, the infamous Christmas Work party, big family dinners and secret Santa exchanges with friends. As the festive season draws upon us, it’s deemed as a time to appreciate friends and family. For some it’s the most wonderful time of the year, however for those of us who feel burned out after socialising, those who prefer to stay in and watch a film over going to big mixers or parties and for all the introverts out there it can be a challenging time of year.
If you’re not sure what an introvert is, it’s someone who feels more comfortable in calm, low key environments where they are able to process and react to their surroundings easily. Being an introvert doesn’t mean that you’re shy and never speak to people. Oprah Winfrey, Emma Watson, Amy Schumer and J.K Rowling all identify as introverts yet are regarded as some of the most influential women in the world. Introvert’s brains actually work differently. In her book, ‘Quiet Kids: Help your introverted child succeed in an extroverted world’ Christine Fonesca explains that rather than thriving off the dopamine produced in social situations, Introverts produce a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Like dopamine it is linked to pleasure, however acetylcholine makes people feel good when they turn inward, allowing them to think and reflect. As the holiday season is full throttle and non stop it can be extremely overwhelming, so here are some tips to help you navigate the holiday season successfully, and most importantly… enjoyably:
- Only attend things you want to attend.
By the end of November, your December diary will most likely be filled to the brim, but just remember: you don’t have to say yes to every invite you receive. That party down the road with a couple of acquaintances? If you dread the though of having to attend, don’t feel bad at all. Just politely decline and go round to visit in the next few days for a coffee if you fancy. Only go to things you feel like you actually want to put your time and energy into, and the loved ones who you really want to see.
- Take a plus one
A problem shared is a problem solved, so if you feel anxious about attending a large party then ask if you can take a friend. It’ll make you feel at ease getting ready together and you can turn up to the party early, reassured and relaxed.
- Its ok to leave
You’ve been at the party for three hours, you’ve said hello to everyone, indulged in conversation, mice pies and mulled wine and now the thought of your bed and Netflix is calling your name. That’s perfectly normal, you don’t have to stay anywhere if you don’t want to. It’s better to go and enjoy yourself for the time that you’re there than to stay all night and constantly be thinking about wanting to leave.
- Prepare conversation starters
Holiday festivities can be filled with small talk if you’re not at an event with your family or best friends. So if you’re going party and the thought of small talk fills you with dread, prepare some easy conversation starters. Ask people about their holiday plans and traditions, or their new years resolutions and goals, these sorts of open ended questions are good for stimulating conversation.
- Rest & Recuperate
Whilst spending time with people and treasuring loved ones is an important part of the holiday season, so is the chance to rest, relax and reflect on the year gone by. Pencil in some self care days and some you time around your social arrangements to give yourself that time to recharge, relax and be yourself in your own space.