Thinking about what I’d like to share today, at this time of year it’s only natural that the holiday season came to mind!
I’ve seen a few blog posts already on how to survive the holiday season, especially as an introvert, since it’s typically filled with work parties, social events and family get togethers.
Personally, I’ve never seen it as a challenging time or something to survive (except the shopping part!). For me, it’s always been a warm, cosy and exciting time and more about family than parties.
However, then I reflected back to my university days when I used to go out much more regularly and I remembered the mixed emotions that would come up (which I generally denied at the time). So whether it’s the holiday season that you struggle with or social events in general, I think it’s all relevant.
I remembered how one part of me often felt excited to attend parties and nights out, especially when I was in a happy mood and feeling energised at the time of hearing about it. But then often the evening would come around, I’d be feeling extra cosy and comfortable at home, and suddenly (or not so suddenly), I wasn’t in the mood to go out at all.
There were definitely some important influential factors here though (in no particular order):
1) Who I was going out with
2) The venue and type of music that would be played
3) How close the venue was and how easy it was to get there
4) Whether I was getting ready alone or with others
5) Whether I was single or not
6) The weather and temperature outside
7) My mood and energy
So I guess that explains a lot!
Most of these factors are still relevant for me today but my lifestyle and way of managing social events has changed a lot since then (more on that in a bit).
Another challenge I know well is being at a party or social event where you enjoy yourself for 2 or 3 hours and then you get that tired feeling and you realise that ‘actually no, I don’t want another drink.’
Conversation, specifically small talk, or having to raise your voice above the music becomes more and more of an effort and you start to daydream about being warm, snug and peaceful in your bed.
But you decide to hold out a bit longer (you don’t want to seem rude, boring or weird) and you use your remaining energy to continue smiling and to look like you’re still listening and enjoying yourself. Tip: If you plan to share a lift or taxi with someone to get home, make sure they’re cool with leaving at a reasonable time. Otherwise, good luck with the smiling! 😉
The longer you hold out, the more impatient and resentful you get towards everyone around you, especially if you get a drink spilled over you or a toe trodden on or you have to endure loud music that you really don’t like.
Finally, you decide, ‘that’s long enough!’ and you say goodbye to those nearest you and make a speedy exit (hopefully not having to wait too long in the cold, rain or snow for a taxi!) Tip: prebook one with plenty of time around the holidays!
Fast forward to home and….ahhhhh sweet, sweet solitude 😊
Can you relate?
Like I mentioned before, things have changed a lot for me since I moved abroad, met a wonderful group of friends, met my partner, started working from home (no work parties!) and now honour my needs and preferences.
I always go back home for Christmas though and my appreciation for home and family is at its very highest. I’m so excited to being flying home tomorrow!
I know that my usual routine will go out the window whilst I’m there but I’m prepared to let that go. It’s only a short trip and I want to be as present, loving and giving as I can, knowing that I can take a quiet break in my room when necessary! Tip: whether you’re spending Christmas in your own home or not, know that you can always excuse yourself and take a private little break in the bathroom if you need some quiet time!
So that’s my take on the holiday season and social events. I totally get that it can be overwhelming when you feel pressured to attend many events and to be socially switched ‘ON’ a lot of the time.
My hope is that you feel reassured that you that you’re not alone, you’re not weird, and that it’s OK to respect your needs and preferences.
I will say though that sometimes it’s a matter of respecting others by accepting invitations and showing up (especially if we said we would). If these are people you care about, then the likelihood is that you’ll end up enjoying yourself anyway, and once you’re ready to leave, you can express this openly without feeling guilty for it.
How do you view the holiday season? I’d love to hear from you!