Dec 032009
 

Holiday stress affects everyone differently – in fact, some people don’t find Christmas stressful or anxiety-provoking at all! Others, such as introverts who aren’t used to the socializing and hubbub the holidays bring, may find Christmas challenging. These tips for people with introverted personality traits will help reduce Christmas stress and anxiety, and make the holidays fun…even for the quietest person in the family.

Before the tips, a quip:

“I have never found a companion so companionable as solitude.” ~ Henry David Thoreau.

As an introvert, solitude is one of my favorite companions. But as a wife, family member, friend, and colleague, I need to come out of my shell and socialize over the holiday season! If you’re like me and sometimes feel guilty for being an introvert, click Living Introverted: Learning To Embrace The Quiet Life Without Guilt – you might find it helpful. And, read on for a few tips for introverts at Christmas…

6 Ways to Reduce Christmas Stress and Anxiety for Introverts

Most introverts don’t enjoy being the center of attention, attending many Christmas parties, or celebrating every minute of the holiday season. In fact, many introverts feel self-conscious around other people, which makes the Christmas parties and social events of the holiday season overwhelming and tiring. These tips for introverts will help reduce stress at Christmas

1. Pinpoint the cause of your holiday stress. Are you stressed or anxious because of external or internal factors? External causes could include holiday office parties, shopping, family dinners, or traveling. Internal causes may include high self-expectations, self-induced pressure to entertain, or unachievable standards for decorating your home. Be honest about why you feel stressed at Christmas. Once you figure out if your holiday stress is related to your introverted personality traits or other reasons, you’ll be better able to deal with it.

2. Volunteer to “work” the Christmas event. This is one of my favorite tips for introverts: some social events during the holiday season require helpers, such as people to bartend, show up as Santa Claus, replenish the appetizers. Introverts at Christmas parties may feel more comfortable if they’re focused on a task. “Working” an event can decrease feelings of being the center of attention, and can help introverts enjoy the holiday season (not just survive it!).

3. Find someone to connect with. Introverts won’t enjoy the holiday season if they’re surrounded by people they don’t “get” – or who don’t get them. To reduce Christmas stress and anxiety, try connecting with one or two like-minded people at parties or events. This can increase energy and comfort levels, and reduce feelings of self-consciousness.

4. Learn how to make conversation with strangers. A great tip for introverts is to be comfortable making small talk. Memorize two or three great conversation starters – this makes socializing at events over the holiday season easier (and possibly even enjoyable!).

5. Know your party limits. To reduce Christmas stress and anxiety, know when to say no! If you’re physically and mentally exhausted, decline invitations to holiday parties or holiday events by being honest. Most people – even if they’re extroverts – will understand if you just can’t face another Christmas party, especially if you say you’re  finding the holiday season overwhelming.

6. Limit the time you spend socializing. Unless it’s a formal Christmas dinner, most social events over the holiday season don’t require guests to stay for the whole party. Introverts can survive Christmas parties by making an appearance, having a quick egg nog, and wishing the host or hostess Happy Holidays before escaping for the solitude of home.

For more tips for introverts, read Are Introverts Normal? Information About the Introvert’s Personality.

If you’re an introvert, how do you reduce Christmas stress and anxiety? I’d love to hear from you below!

  13 Responses to “Tips for Introverts – 6 Ways to Reduce Christmas Stress and Anxiety”

  1. I’m starting to dread christmas because my family always hosts a party for family and friends and I’m stuck at home all day having to socialize and/or cook, clean till I drop (my mom goes nonstop and I want to help bc she always overdoes it). I’m from a traditional conservative culture so since I’m the daughter I have to help help till the party is over and house is clean. I already started feeling very depressed a week ago because I knew what was coming. I just want Christmas to be over. I wish just one Christmas I could have the choice to go to a party, stay a bit and LEAVE and go home and rest. I’ve never been able to do this in my life. I feel like a prisoner and depressed right now bc I’m worn out and just want to be alone. I can’t even say I’d want to go stay with relatives because that would also be extremely exhausting for me. This is the curse of being a more extreme introvert. If I just can’t take it, I’m thinking of making up a story and going to my brothers empty house to be alone. I’m so physically tired too and fear I might have a breakdown….would it be wrong to do something like this?

  2. Jennie Anne,

    I’m sorry to hear about your anxiety and depression — but glad to know you’re managing it naturally with 5-HTP food supplements!

    If you’re an introvert as well, I hope these tips help.

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  3. I have both Anxiety and Depression. This is the wost sickness that you could possibly have in this world. I try to mange it naturally using 5-HTP food supplements.

  4. Thanks for your comment, Matthew. That’s great that you put your wife’s needs above your own, especially if she wants to do more socializing at Christmas.

    I sure hope these tips for introverts help over the holidays…I love writing about introverted personality traits!

  5. I’m an introvert, but I put my wife’s needs above my own preference to stay how for Christmas. These tips for introverts are helpful, but I think sometimes you just need to do the right thing. And, the right thing is about loving your partner in the way they want to be loved.

    Thanks for this article; I’m sure introverts everywhere appreciate it!

  6. Hi Sue,

    I’m with MacConvie on this one: you’re not wrong for wanting to share Christmas with your partner! He’s playing — and misusing — the introvert card.

    There’s not much I can add to MacConvie’s suggestion, except to encourage you not to let him hide away for Christmas. If he absolutely refuses, remember that this isn’t a “one-off.” That is, he probably won’t change in the future and suddenly want to participate in family Christmas get togethers. You’ll need to decide if you can live with it or not…

    Let us know how it goes!

    Laurie

  7. @ SUE

    No you’re not WRONG. I am an introvert and he’s being an a**. He might have social anxiety. Many Introverts are usually fine being in extroverted territory, just not for LONG PERIODS of time. He can take short breaks if he needs to. Tell him him how it will make you feel if he didn’t attend.

    Tell him something like this:

    I understand your need to be alone to energize yourself, but I also have needs and since we are in this relationship together don’t you think it’s best we compromise? We can spend a little time with my family and then we can have the rest of the evening to ourselves. I’d really appreciate it, if you’d come with me…I’d feel a little hurt if you didn’t.

    You’ve acknowledged his feelings, but you’ve also made sure that your feelings weren’t left out and that you both get what you want.

  8. I am dating an introvert, for the first time, and this is our first holiday season together. None of his family will be here so he is left alone…while my family will be. Last year I was in a very serious car accident 4 days before Christmas that left my daughter (I am a single parent) by my hospital bed praying that I would survive through the holiday season. This year she has her mom and I am spending the holiday with my family. I INCLUDE him as part of MY FAMILY (since we have talked about marriage)…he won’t go because he uses his INTROVERT personality as his excuse….so I won’t see him now at all for Christmas Eve or Christmas. (I am in Law Enfrocement so I work both days…so my hours are limited to begin with).

    We got into an arguement over this…his arguement was I don’t know what it is like being an INTROVERT…I told him him look up the definition of FAMILY!!

    There are plenty of places to seek solice…or go for a walk and gain some alone time…he jsut doesn’t want to hear it.

    I told him I have been through enough holidays as a single parent…now I have a partner and I am STILL doing the holidays as a single parent.

    AM I WRONG???

  9. Thanks for your comment, Barry. I’m not sure if these tips for introverts help with panic attacks…I didn’t think about them that way! Interesting idea.

  10. There are many people that get anxiety because of the holiday season. Yes, these are some of the effective ways to get rid of panic attacks.

  11. Hi Lynn,

    When you say you hope so, are you saying responding to my “Are Introverts Normal?” question? That must mean you’re an introvert :-)

    I’m working on a book proposal for a series of “Quips and Tips” books. I have an agent, but we haven’t yet sold my first idea (based on my “See Jane Soar” blog). But, maybe my second idea will sell first!

    Patricia — thanks for your tip for small talk for introverts! I rarely allow links in the comments section, but I couldn’t refuse yours…it’s a great resource for introverts.

    See you in cyberspace, my friends…

    Laurie

  12. Love the volunteer suggestion.

    I’d like to offer the 30 day small talk rule: share impersonal information about events or interests in your personal life during a span of 30 days on either side of today. In other words, tell people what impersonal events or interests have happened to you within 30 days before “the day” and what impersonal events and interests will occur within 30 days from “that day.” There’s more about it on my blog post: Job Search Tip – Introverts Can Plan Small-Talk for Job Interview.

  13. Laurie, I sure hope so. What is your book about?

    Lynn

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