Tips For Surviving The Holidays As An Introvert, According To A Neuropsychologist

Even if you love the holidays, the honest truth is that they are usually stressful for everyone. Between planning and attending events, making special meals, and buying gifts, many find there is never enough time in the day or money in the budget. According to Psychology Today, it's actually common to feel pressure from family to do certain things while also placing unrealistic expectations upon yourself. It can be even more difficult for introverts since so many social expectations are grouped into a few short weeks.

Neuropsychologist Dr. Shanam Hafeez says many people struggle with the pressure of social engagements during the holiday season as well as becoming overstimulated by them all, but notes that introverts may feel it more (via The Everygirl Podcast). She says the best thing introverts can do during the holiday season is to learn to say no.

Hafeez points out that this advice isn't just for the holidays. "All of this advice that I give during the holidays, this really applies to your life year long,” explains Hafeez. "In fact, if you practice it all year, then your holidays next year will actually be easier."

Protect your own space and prioritize

While you can and should decline invitations that you just can't or don't want to attend, there are some gatherings that you will go to and try to enjoy. Dr. Shanam Hafeez offers tips on the Everygirl Podcast for getting through them.

You'll likely see many people you haven't seen in a while at parties so consider how you want to deal with those who may be oversharers or want to be filled in on everything. Hafeez says you can briefly greet people and make a plan to catch up with a call later on, so the pressure of delving into anything too deep at the moment is off, amid the noise of the room and the hustle and bustle.

Hafeez warns that while it's great to go out and mingle with people, holiday parties can leave you feeling down after they're over and you go back home to your regular life and everyday problems. To minimize those feelings of becoming overwhelmed, go late and leave early, meet one person and talk to them, or just coast through the room and not connect with anyone.

"It's prioritizing. If you prioritize your own self-preservation, you will make that a priority. You will make sure that you do what's best for you," says Hafeez. "I think most of us burn out because we're trying to do what we think is either best for everyone else or what other people expect for us."