6 Ways To Stay Calm And Enjoy The Holidays As An Introvert

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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Heading Into The Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and the holiday season is quickly approaching. It’s hard to believe that we’re already this far through the year.

So much has changed in my life since last year at this time. My everyday life is hardly recognizable. Things are much calmer now, and there’s a greater sense of hope for the future. Though I feel myself being tugged into old anxieties. I’m tempted to fall into the fear of falling backwards, but we’re not headed that way anymore, and for that, I am truly thankful.

The holidays can be a busy, crazy time of year. There’s so much going on, so many people to see, so many things to do. It’s easy to get caught up in the traffic of it all, easy to forget to balance the busyness of the season with necessary self-care. I’m more aware of it this year.

Tomorrow I’ll post some of the things I’ll be doing to stay calm and enjoy the holidays. How are you feeling as we head into the holiday season this year?

Organized Control

Organizations seems to be one of those things I’m always struggling with. It’s like I always try to control my environment in order to motivate myself to get things done. But that doesn’t always work. I know there are certain things that contribute to me being more productive, like getting to bed at a reasonable time, not sleeping in, morning writing, and staying off the internet.

But when does trying to stay organized cross the line into unhealthy extremes. And what’s the underlying cause for my desperate need for control. Is it just that I want to get things done? To make something of my life? And for what?

Or is it deeper than that?

Maybe trying to stay organized is a way of hiding from my insecurities and fears. A way to make me feel safe, protected. Of bringing order to an otherwise chaotic life. All of this swirls outside me. But what about who I am underneath? Have I forgotten that part of myself?

Hollow, empty. But these are just mere words. Because when you feel hollow, you’re numb from the inside out. It’s like a never-ending ripple that echoes through the body with no way to know the source or really feel it at all.

It’s like I try to control my outside environment so that I can prove to myself that I’m worth something. And yet, these same insecurities still haunt me inside.

Stressed Sensory Experience of Se

When I’m stressed I tend to feel a strong sensory overwhelm/overload. I’ve noticed that this feeds into my anxiety. Sometimes people talk about grounding as a way to connect with your surroundings and your own body, but what about when the very act of doing that is too overwhelming to do any good?

Inferior Se. I thank you.

As an INFJ I struggle with my inferior Se a lot. I’m better able to notice it now than I was. And I like to think that I have a pretty solid grasp of it. But sometimes, it just sneaks up behind me and attacks.

Any other INFJ’s feel this way? It’s like all the stress and anxiety in life catches up to us, and just then our little Se decides to spazz out. This sweater’s too tight, your socks aren’t even, the room’s too cold, did you brush your teeth this morning, I can’t eat sugar it’s too sweet! These are just a few of the things it likes to say.

I can see it as a voice, but it’s also a feeling, a very sensory experience that becomes heightened and I just want to get away. A nice dark room by myself would be lovely please. People? Oh no! I don’t want to be around people, that means noise, and conversation, and too many moving objects to look at.

I savor and enjoy my times alone. It’s funny, my husband works from home and I find that even having him in the same house can sometimes feel draining. I love him so much, but there really is a difference in having the house to oneself.

I’m sorry, I’ve really gotten totally off track and I’m rambling again.

Another thing I notice is that I skip eating when I’m stressed or anxious about something. This leads to even more physical sensations (hunger, dizziness, nausea), that leave me feeling more overwhelmed. I need to take better care of myself. Here are a few things I’ve found helpful.

  1. If possible, find a quiet place where you can be alone, unobserved. Close your eyes and just breathe.
  2. Check for obvious physical sensations that you can manage/control, and see if there’s something you’re neglecting. Often for me, I find that I’ve waiting too long to eat, or that I feel the need to brush my hair or my teeth.
  3. Accept that these things happen. It’s okay to be hyper-aware of the environment, it isn’t really as scary or dangerous as it seems. Give yourself some grace.

Do you feel overwhelmed and not yourself when stress comes? What methods have you found to be helpful in managing an inferior function?

Insecure Introversion

I haven’t fully embraced my introversion. I feel like a fraud and a hypocrite. I claim that I’m comfortable as an introvert, and yet, as quiet as I may be in groups, I’m never fully comfortable with it. I feel I fade into the background, or, rather, I feel like I weird people out with my silence.

I don’t want attention on me. I don’t know what to say. I think of a lot of things I could say, but it just feels so invalidating to the people around me for me to say it. I don’t want to try to one up people, and I feel like that’s what I’d be doing. Even if what I do isn’t that great, I’m still afraid of stealing the spotlight and stealing the conversation from the other person when they probably have something more interesting to say.

I’m extremely insecure. And I know I come off awkward in groups. I’m afraid of my introversion, not because I fade into obscurity, but more because I’m afraid of making others uncomfortable, and I know I probably do.

Have any of you struggled to come to terms with your introversion? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Strong Enough

I think we’re all looking for a safe place. I’m not strong enough to carry this burden, but God is. He is strong enough to take the things that make us our weakest, and turn it around for our good.

Sometimes we try to power through life and take on the world. After a time of trying, we realize we can’t. Sure, the facade might last a while, but it can’t last forever.

How comforting it is to know that we have a God who loves us and wants the best for us, not just good, but best.

We can tend to try to go our own way and end up making a lot of mistakes along the way. The good news is, He works all things together for our good, so even when we mess up, He’s still there. And He is always faithful.

Proverbs 24:10 says, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Talk about a punch in the gut.

I feel like I’ve been falling apart for a long time now. There are highs and there are lows, but I don’t feel I have the strength to fight it when the storms come. I so often feel like I’ll drown.

Like Peter, I need to fix my eyes on Christ so I don’t sink beneath the waves. I may not be able to overcome myself by myself, but He has overcome the world.

I am so thankful that He renews and strengthens us. His strength is made perfect in weakness. And that is how I’ve survived. I don’t have the strength to fight, but I serve a God who is always strong enough, no matter the battles I face.

Wanting More

I want people. It feels odd saying that, but it’s true. For so long now, I’ve spiraled in on my little introvert self, and I feel as though that’s left me empty and yearning for deeper connections with others. I can’t say I fully regret my decisions, I’ve learned from my mistakes, discovered who I am, and have grown stronger because of them.

Isn’t it wonderful how faithful God is to use even our own gunk for His good and glory? And good for us too. I’m always amazed when I think about it. I so don’t deserve these chances that I’ve been given, and yet, God is faithful to me even when I can’t find it in me to be.

Sometimes I wonder what this life was made of. Why am I here? What’s the point? What’s my purpose? Is there a greater plan? It’s so easy to lose sight of the greatness of God when we’re stuck looking at the dirt of our own tiny pit.

I want more from this life than my past has to offer. I want more from the life the world supplies, and that more can only be found in Christ.