As we get deeper into November, we approach the holiday season. This, unfortunately, is often a tough time for a lot of folks. The holidays are often a busy social time, which means that self-care for introverts is more important than ever.
Irrespective of the season it’s important to live in a way that works well for you.
For me, that often means taking breaks.
I’m a classic introvert. I have tested relatively high for introversion on personality assessments throughout my life and career as a mental health professional. Personality assessments have gone mainstream, but have also come under fire over the years, as therapy speak and the misuse of psychological rationale goes mainstream (e.g. having healthy boundaries gets reduced to simply cutting people out of your life). Introversion is simply about how you manage and expend energy. It’s not about being shy or antisocial, it’s really about what social events and obligations take out of you.
The main difference between introversion and extroversion
Most introverts need recovery time after social obligations as being with others. This is true even if the time spent is enjoyable. Social time expends more energy for people high in introversion. You can imagine how that plays out during this time of year. Extroverts, by contrast, tend to get very anxious, antsy or depleted when they don’t have regular contact with others. For big E’s, people tend to be a source of energy instead of being sources that (unintentionally) zap away the energy reserves of introverts.
Self-care for introverts during the holidays
I like people but spending time with people, especially in groups takes a lot out of me. Quiet time, low stimulation environments, and of course, naps can be incredibly helpful for introverts. Those things certainly me recharge. They also help me be more sociable when I want to meaningfully engage.
However, it goes without saying that each person responds to social activities in their own unique way. Whether you’re more introverted or not, it’s important to take breaks and not get hung up on judging yourself for it.
Leave the self-judgement behind
With relationships come expectations – whether they are fair or not. That means that there are likely going to be times when you feel guilty for doing what feels right for you, even if it’s done without malice towards anyone else. But, my goal in writing today is to remind you that needing time for yourself isn’t some sort of character flaw. It doesn’t make you antisocial or weird. It’s healthy to take the time you need to feel balanced and grounded again.
In fact, it can help you really show up for the people most important people in your life when you want.
So the next time you find you’re fighting with yourself about the time and space that you need to recharge, try to remind yourself that meeting your needs is a deep act of self-care and there’s nothing at all wrong with that.
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