If you identify as an introvert, you might be starting to feel a bit burnt out. While, Halloween may be over, next come two of the most popular and social holidays. Just thinking about Friendsgiving’s, family gatherings, office parties, and running into old acquaintances may be enough to make you want to curl under a blanket and hibernate until after new year’s. If you’re a bit anti-social, here are some ways you can cope and find solace during the most social time of the year.
Our Biggest Tip – You Don’t Have to be Social…
We want to share a little secret with you. You don’t owe it to ANYONE to go to a gathering or an event if you don’t want to. We completely understand this sounds much simpler than it is. Saying “no” can be extremely challenging. That pang of guilt you might feel for even thinking about canceling can be enough to get you out the door if needed. But in the long run, forcing yourself into situations you aren’t comfortable being in isn’t helping anyone. Especially if it’s causing you inner turmoil and stress that you don’t need.
…But Remember, Human Connection is Necessary for Positive Mental Health
Mental illness can feel like an island. And we know that the more we isolate ourselves and retreat from connection, the worse our mental health can become. This is why we want to make sure this isn’t interpreted as a “get out of jail free” card for all social gatherings this holiday season.
If you’re being completely honest with yourself, you’ll know what your soul needs in regard to being social. There will be times you will get in your own way – the times you know you’re just making excuses, even though connecting with those you love is something you’re in need of. And there will be times that anxiety and stress are too much to bear. The times when simply the thought of leaving the house or being in a public space immediately makes you feel sick. During those moments, remember you can always ask if the plans can change. If meeting at a bar for cocktails feels like way too much, see if those people would be open to a more casual night in and play bartender yourselves.
There are always solutions, and we’re going to take a guess and say your loved ones just want to spend time and connect with you. The setting doesn’t matter nearly as much as your relationship does. We have a feeling they’re going to be much more understanding than your anxiety is telling you they’re going to be.
Introverts Need Time to Recharge
For just as many social events you’re able to go to, remember to take just as much (and in all honesty, most likely more) time for yourself. We’re sure you’ve heard of the “battery” analogy in regard to being social. Extroverts thrive in these social situations and attending them doesn’t drain them in the same capacity. You are you, and you are complete and wonderful just the way you are. Don’t judge or compare yourself to your more social friends. Rather, do your best to remember you’re simply running on a different operating system – one that needs a little bit more time to reboot.
Plus, by taking that time to fully recharge, you are then going to be at full capacity to be able to both cope and enjoy the gatherings and events you do attend!
Take Care of Yourself, PLEASE
One way to make sure you’re achieving that full battery recharge is through fully taking care of yourself. You need to sleep. You need to eat nutritiously and move your body. And you can’t cope solely through drugs or alcohol. The DBT Please Skills are a great reminder to keep yourself balanced.
Before anything else, you need to treat the things that are wrong with your body. Take your prescribed medication and attend your yearly physicals. Don’t drag on and extend a sickness because you’re “too busy” to go to the doctor.
Your nutrition needs to be consistent and balanced. No, you do not need to be on a keto inspired detox in order to aid your mental health. But you do need to make sure for as many alcoholic beverages you indulge in, you also drink two glasses of water. And yes, hit up that dessert table. But maybe do it once you hit the fruit or vegetable table first.
Unless you’ve been prescribed a medication by your doctor, do not ingest any other mood-alternating drugs into your system. And in regard to alcohol, a glass of wine or two shouldn’t receive judgment, but don’t go on a bender every weekend during the holiday season. Remember, handling and processing emotions when you are sober is a much easier (and less messy) task than trying to do it when you’ve ingested uppers and/or downers.
We’ve said it more than once. Sleep is one of the greatest things you can do for your body. And we know you know the incredible way you feel when you actually get a well-rested night’s sleep. Why don’t you want to feel that way more often? Sleep is the time the body gets to recover. And the more recovery it can go through, the more you’ll be prepared to adapt to the challenge’s life throws you each day.
If you’re in the majority, you probably don’t like physical exercise. We get it. Most days we don’t like it either. But try to think of working out and getting stronger as a parallel to your emotional strength.
Help with Anti-Social Stress-Management!
Counseling can be a helpful tool to help you make anti-social stress-management techniques a part of your daily life. Sharing your holiday stressors with your therapist can help you both stay on the same page and keep you accountable in working towards your goals. Therapy and counseling are safe spaces where you can voice your concerns, develop coping and communication skills, and find the support you need.
Remember, therapy is hard work! It can feel extremely uncomfortable and even exhausting. Having a hand to hold and help guide you will only add to your personal success. Cristina Panaccione and Associates Counseling has one location in the South Hills of Pittsburgh and one in the Robinson area. We are currently accepting a limited number of new patients, so check out our videos to learn more about how we can help you stress less this holiday season!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.
Dave Lori – LPC
Dave has had the honor and privilege of working in the mental health field for the past 20 years. His experience ranges from family-systems work to individualized-focus. His clinical orientation ranges from client-centered, solution-focused, humanistic and Existential approach. Dave believes in providing a strength-based, supportive, authentic and non-judgmental approach to the therapeutic process. We all face various challenges and have the ability to reach our personal goals given the independent choices we make each day.