I absolutely love the holidays, it’s easily my favorite time of year (though I’ll say that regardless of which season we’re headed into). But as an introvert and HSP the holidays can very easily become overwhelming. I’m finally learning the importance of balance and understanding my own needs and thought I’d share with you some of my strategies for maintaining a sense of calm while still engaging with others.
- Be selective and prioritize. It’s easy to feel like we have to participate in everything we’re invited to. Instead, I’m aiming to be intentional about saying yes to the events I actually want to participate in and declining those I don’t.
- Plan ahead. This goes along with #1. When we know what options we have ahead of time, we can better choose which events we want to attend and which we want to avoid. This also limits the possibility of saying yes to a bunch of random invitations then realizing later that we have too much going on. I also find it easier to go into situations when I know what to expect.
- Be aware of energy levels, then listen. I have such a hard time saying no and turning down invitations. I’m getting better about this, but it’s taken a long time to strike a balance between making sure my needs are met without going overboard and isolating, and still interacting and engaging with others in a positive way without overdoing it and wearing myself out. Last year, there was one party in particular that I knew I would be too drained to attend, and instead of stepping back for that one night, I went anyway, then needed a few days to recover.
- Communicate. Let others know when you’re feeling overwhelmed. This can be a lot more challenging, because it means being vulnerable with others, but most people in our lives just want to enjoy the season with us and don’t realize when we’re taking on too much. They can also feel hurt when we decline (one of the reasons we tend to say yes to everything), and communicating where we’re at can help them understand that it isn’t anything personal. We aren’t mind readers, and we can’t expect anyone else to be either.
- Create your own traditions. Holiday traditions don’t have to include other people. Creating some holiday traditions of your own can be a great way to have the space you need while still enjoying the season. This could mean reading a particular book, decorating your own space, doing some sort of craft, baking on your own, or anything else you enjoy.
- Be present. It may sound counter intuitive but sometimes it takes more energy to spiral in our own minds and analyze everything than it would to just sit quietly or engage authentically while in a group setting. Being present allows us to fully engage in the interactions and with the environment so we get more out of it even if we do decide to leave early.
I’d love to hear any extra tips you have, how are you preparing for the holiday season this year?