Updated: Feb 1
The holidays are a wonderful time of year. I’m going to be honest… I may have already started listening to Christmas music.
I love the season and the cooler weather and all of the beautiful decorations. I am equally stressed and excited about buying presents and giving them to my loved ones. I put a lot of thought into getting them something that they will really like and enjoy and it seems like it’s 50/50 whether I hit the nail on the head or they hate it completely. I try to take notes when they say they like something or need something.
I will be honest though: I avoid stores like the plague this time of year. I hate all of the people everywhere. It’s a lot to deal with. Amazon and Etsy are my best friends. I think they were invented by introverts who would much rather shop at home on the couch in their jammies.
There is a lot that goes on during the season though, a lot of events that you get invited to for work and friends and certainly family. It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted just thinking about it. You want to go and see your family and friends, but you don’t want to at the same time. You still want that normal amount of space and alone time.
After a couple of events you are completely exhausted and either bail on everything else or suck it up at the expense of your mental and emotional health, being miserable the whole time. Does this sound familiar?
You don’t have to spend the holidays in a miserable, exhausted state. There are some things that you can do to make them better and more enjoyable. You don’t have to skip all of the fun either.
I want to share with you a few things that I do to survive all of the mandatory fun.
Know that it’s ok to say no
Don’t feel obligated to go just because everyone else is going. You don’t have to say yes to every party or every event. It’s perfectly fine for you to say no to some things.
Also, remember that no is a complete sentence. You don’t have to give people a reason why you aren’t going. You can say, “Thank you for the invite! I appreciate you thinking of me, however, I can’t this time. Maybe next time.” And leave it at that.
Know your limit
As an INFJ, I have a limit to the amount of time I can spend around other people before I need a break or need to leave altogether. I know that that is and stick to it.
It’s ok for you to go to an event and stay for 1 or 2 hours. There is no rule that says you have to stay for the whole event or for 5 or 6 hours. You can leave when you start to feel drained, or possibly even before that.
If the event is at a friend or family member’s house, you can tell them this when you agree to attend, so they are aware that you will be arriving late or leaving early.
This is part of setting expectations and boundaries that is not always easy, but it’s necessary.
Know what you are getting into
Every time I get invited to something I start asking questions.
What is it?
Where is it?
How long does it last?
Who is going?
What do I have to do when there?
I like to be prepared for what I am getting myself into. I don’t like surprises!
I also want to feel comfortable getting there and knowing where to go. If I’m not familiar with where it is at I Google it. They have maps and they usually have photos of the outside of the building, sometimes even the inside.
It helps me a lot to know where I am going ahead of time. I know where I am going, where to park and how to get in the building. Sometimes it’s a lot more of a thing that you would think it should be. I look for anything that will help me feel more comfortable about going somewhere new.
Nowadays you can also look for pictures of previous events on Facebook and Google. That is also helpful for knowing what to expect and how many people are going to be there and things like that.
Help out in the kitchen
I always volunteer to help in the kitchen. I always volunteer. Mostly because it gives me something to do. I can still be at the party, but not have to talk to a lot of people. I don’t really want to run the show in the kitchen, but I’m great at chopping up vegetables and setting the table.
I’m also great at doing the dishes. It gets me out of small talk and into a much quieter place. Most people don’t want to clean up, so I’m good with doing it alone. I’m being helpful and avoiding people at the same time. It works for both of us.
I also volunteer if they need someone to run to the store for something. That helps burn time even more and gets me away from the people too.
Have an escape plan
Have a plan for getting out of there. Like we spoke about before, you don’t have to stay for the whole event. You can leave when you are feeling that you need to. Whether you tell people ahead of time or have a “go-to” excuse to get you out of things, know that it is ok to leave.
A lot of people use their kids as an excuse to go. “I have to get back to the kids,” is a great excuse. If you don’t have kids, you can use your niece like I do or your dog, who can only hold it for so long!
Set a timer and make your exit when the time is up.
Give yourself permission
Give yourself permission to do the things that you want to do during this season. You don’t have to conform to everyone else’s rules.
I am a very non-traditional person this time of year. I don’t have my own family or kids. I don’t even have a boyfriend this year. Plus I live about 1,500 miles away from my family. So I do my own thing. I eat Chinese food for Thanksgiving and macaroni and cheese for Christmas because I like those things. I watch Friends reruns and soak up the solitude during my vacations from work.
A lot of people make comments about how sad it is to be alone this time of year and invite me to their house. I always decline. I don’t think it’s sad at all. I am happy to be healthy and I have a lot to be thankful for.
Most of all I’m thankful that I’m not forced to be around people I don’t like and have to pretend to be happy while being around them. I’ll take solitude over forced conversations any day, even Christmas day!
Schedule time for yourself
Make sure that you schedule plenty of time for yourself before and after these events to rest and recharge. Self-care is so important to protect your mental and emotional health. Curl up in front of the fireplace with a mug of hot chocolate and get lost in your favorite book.
Think about what you are getting yourself for Christmas as well. I bought myself a cruise for Christmas and my birthday, which is right before Christmas. I can’t wait for April to be on the beach and enjoying being with my friends.
However you spend your holidays, I hope that you enjoy them and that you do something nice for yourself.
My gift to you this Christmas is this: You are perfect just the way that you are. You are an amazing and wonderful person who is seen and loved and needed right here, in this community. you were made this way for a reason and the world needs you. I need you.
Please know that you have a special gift inside of you that the world needs. We are here when you are ready to share it with us, waiting patiently for you to decide that the time is right.
I can’t wait to see what you have to share! I hope that you will include me in your journey and share your progress!