I find it easiest to love my family when I don’t have to be locked into a house with them for 10 days straight, feeling like I have to be spending every minute enjoying “quality time.” The holidays have started to become something I dread, and I dream of the day when I can spend Christmas Eve in a cabin in the woods, naked in front of the fire with someone who has a great set of abs and a Ph.D. in something cool. Until that day, here are my tips on surviving the holidays with your family as an introvert.
1. Plan an escape. It might not be the escape you really want, but take the quiet moments you can get. It might be on the car ride there, or in the evenings after everyone has gone to bed, or for a couple hours in the middle of the day when you’re running errands. Plan for the moments you will finally be alone and do whatever you do that helps you decompress, whether that’s journaling, playing with the family pet, or sneaking in a Stranger Things episode under the dining room table while everyone is distracted with tree decorating. Every minute counts.
2. Engage in activities that recharge you. If you can’t be alone, try to get people involved in the things you like. You never know who might secretly be down for some yoga in the basement, or helping you find new memes for your insta.
3. Take it one moment at a time. The holidays don’t last forever. Eventually, everyone will go home and leave you alone. And not every second is going to be overwhelming or frustrating or boring as hell. Try to find the moments that you enjoy and focus on them, not on counting down the minutes until freedom.
4. Don’t apologize. Needing time to yourself is not something you should feel guilty about, even if your extroverted family doesn’t understand. If you have to ask for an hour to yourself so that you don’t implode, they should respect that, and you should be brave enough to tell them even if it’s awkward!
5. Wear something that makes you feel fierce. No, Grandma might not understand that blue lipstick is a thing (that looks great on you!), but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear it if it helps you feel confident. Whether your thing is heels, lingerie, or just a pair of yoga pants that makes your ass look great, rock it. It might give you the little boost you need to get through too many hours of screaming children or offensive dinner table stories.
6. Reward yourself. Spa day? An entire weekend of drinking wine on your couch and playing video games? Returning all those gifts you didn’t actually want and exchanging them for something you’ve wanted forever? Only you know what makes you happy, but plan something to look forward to once all the madness is over.
Whatever your family is like, and however long you’re trapped in a house with them, you got this.