The Introvert's Corner

How to live a quiet life in a noisy world

Readers' Tips for Honoring Your Introversion This Season

Introverts share their best strategies for staying sane through holiday madness

I asked for tips for honoring your introversion during the holidays and a bunch of thoughtful introverts came through with some great stuff, posted on my Facebook page. There’s bound to be something in this collection that sounds just right to you, and for you.

Have a lovely, quiet holiday. See you on the other side!

  • My mom graciously sets up a card table with a puzzle for those who wish to escape the fray. I'm ALWAYS at the card table!!
  • When I finally put the kids to bed, I turn off all the lights in the house, light some Christmas candles, turn on the Christmas tree and cuddle up in a warm blanket with a hot cocoa ... ahhhh!
  • Shop online!
  • Schedule quiet time with yourself and make it as important as any social commitment - don't cancel on yourself.
  • If you're visiting family, give yourself permission to retreat to your room or somewhere else private from time to time. Don't feel guilty if you don't spend every moment with your hosts.
  • Know your limits. Be comfortable saying no, and leaving it at that
  • This is the season for giving. So breathe and remember that you are giving others the gift of your presence. If it is a challenge for you, then you are giving a larger gift, and you should acknowledge that to yourself! Step away for a few moments and recognize how big a gift you are giving to the people around you.
  • I work in retail management, which as you can imagine becomes quite hectic at this time of the year. I always keep in mind if I can just make it to my lunch hour then I can escape to the quiet solitude of my car and listen to some nice classical or jazz music, maybe grab a mocha iced coffee somewhere, and recharge before heading back into the fray. Once I'm back then half my day is over and I know I'll make it to the end.
  • My wife has a huge and vibrant family with lots of little kids, whom I adore. I enjoy visiting with them, but it does wear me out after a few hours. My best advice is to get plenty of sleep before and after and don't be afraid to go read the paper in the other room for 30 minutes when you need to. Charge your own batteries up first so you can expend the energy in meaningful interaction.
  • I always try to come in my own car. That way, when I'm done, I just leave. Waiting for others makes me feel tense and agitated. Of course, I live alone, so I don't know if that would be a good idea if you were part of a couple. Might cause talk! But then, maybe it's better to give them something to wonder about. Then at least they won't discuss it with you—just about you
  • I remind myself that in order to give to others this season (when they all seem to want time and attention) I must give to myself. So I eat healthy and exercise, work towards a full night's sleep, and feel no guilt for time spent alone.
  • Online shopping, and a lot of "bathroom breaks" at get-togethers!
  • Pre- everything possible! Pre-bake, pre-shop, pre-wrap—in order to create the space needed to focus on those things that help keep you sane.
  • All things in moderation. A little family time. A little quiet time. A little festivities. A little rest and recharge.
  • Take time to pray or meditate.
  • Avoid malls, traffic, and crowds by buying at small local stores or making charitable donations on behalf of friends and relatives.
  • I started enjoying the holidays more when I let go of a lot of "obligations" that were stressing me out. I say no quite a bit, and that has made me much happier. I think peaceful is a good word to remember.
  • Don't host. That way you can leave when you've had enough. And you don't feel guilty about kicking people out.
  • Ask relatives questions about things they are passionate about (their children or a favorite sport of theirs) This ensures they will talk for quite some time and you simply have to listen.
  • I stay away from “small talk” parties, like work parties and stick to family and friends. Also, I try to be kind to strangers when out and about, because that's what the holiday is all about.
  • Send the hubby out to do the shopping...he actually likes to shop, so it's a win-win!
  • Walking my dog at night, enjoying the serenity of the sky is a wonderful stress reliever!
  • Exercise every day is most important this time of year. I force myself to reach out to others and look for ways to serve others. This way I take my mind off of me and think of others. This helped fend off my tendencies to hide and become depressed and lonely. I begin new, short-term projects to keep busy.
  • I cook. Let the extroverts chatter away, I quietly focus on cooking, they appreciate the food and my effort, I get my retreat time by being busy
  • Book a trip far far away!
  • Dishes are never ending…And I prefer the old-fashioned by-hand method
  • Set aside time with the family, but also set aside down time for yourself. For example, going to see a midnight movie by yourself on Christmas night after being surrounded by people all day.
  • Draw closer to your spirituality through the season. To those of you who believe, it will bring peace to your heart. To those of you who are unsure, take this opportunity to learn the origin and real reason of this holiday. It will fill your heart with joy. Lastly, make each day an opportunity to help others less fortunate than you. The joy is in the giving - even if is something as simple as a smile and kind word. Blessings to you.
  • My father manages to have repeated computer problems, including programs he insists downloaded themselves onto the PC. If visiting at his house, I can always get away from the ruckus by fixing the computer. Again.
  • Avoid the craziness by shopping during the quiet times of the day(school and work hours) also, take the time to do something for yourself. Maybe stop by Starbucks and enjoy your favorite holiday drink!
  • When visiting with/by stress-inducing relatives, I make a point of immediately announcing my doctor has told me to get more exercise. Company gets to be too much = long walk time.
  • The beauty of earphones are that you can carry those (and of course some kind music player) anywhere, blocking surrounding voices and still listen something relaxing. This is handy in public places or areas where you cannot escape your own private place--like traveling to meet your relatives or going on a holiday trip.
  • JUST SAY NO. No follow-up excuses needed!
  • Choose wisely, whether shopping, visiting, sleeping or eating, during these weeks. The bottom line for myself is to conserve energy and that means being very, very careful on how I expend it. It's better to error on the side of less activity than more. But I do recommend a glass of champagne whenever possible!
  • Drink with family/friends at parties and ask questions you actually want to know the answers to. Less draining that way.
  • Little headphones plugged into my ears and listening to a lovely audiobook when I'm shopping in a crowd of people
  • Make a plan to explore a new trail in the woods. Slipping away for even a quick walk can do wonders.
  • I try to spread the required visiting out on different days instead of doing two or three (!) gatherings at once.
  • I like to sneak away for a coffee when the kids are in school. It is a good time to find a quiet corner in a local coffee shop. I have even sat in a McDonald's parking lot with a cup and a notebook or book. It feels like an escape.
  • Online shopping, deep breathing, yoga and a glass of wine now and then.
  • Make a list and shop early. Plan simple meals.
  • Stay well nourished and hydrated.
  • I make sure I take time to do the things I want to do. I watch the movies I want to see by myself. One year I wrapped presents in black paper, just because I could. It is important to take care of yourself.
  • When faced with a large crowd of outgoing people (family get-togethers, work potlucks, Christmas parties, etc.) just be yourself and don't give into the pressure of being talkative or outwardly expressive. Express yourself when you want to in the way that feels good to you and accept who you are. You are the only one who can make you feel uncomfortable, so just don't give in to yourself!

Photo by Luca Sartoni via Flickr (Creative Commons).

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Know what would make a great Christmas present? My book, of course, The Introvert's Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World. It validates introverts and educates extroverts. Win-win!

And please come hang out with me and a bunch of other friendly (but not overly) introverts on Facebook

Sophia Dembling is a widely published Dallas, Texas-based writer. Her latest book is The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.

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