Let’s just be honest. The holidays, while full of some of the most precious memories of our lives, can also be the cause of a great deal of stress for the introvert. In reality, the holiday season is not defined by one single stressor, but a raft of them: family reunions, office parties, preparing the big meal, meeting gift expectations, trying to stay within a budget, fighting others to get that sale item. It’s enough to turn Saint Nick, himself, into a candidate for the mental ward. For most of us, the stressors can sometimes turn holiday spirit into holiday drama. We want the holidays to be a happy and festive time, but with so many varied stresses, we know this won’t always be the case. That’s why today’s post is about INTJ strategies to help you get through the holidays.
INTJ Strategies for Dealing with Holiday Blues
Pre-plan Before the Festivities
Come up with a few questions, topic starters, neutral questions, etc. to ease the conversational flow with long lost cousins, or other relatives. Plan to talk (listen) to the often overlooked co-workers, they may be introverts, too. Need a conversation starter for introverts? Here are a few to get you started: what’s a book you’ve read recently or would recommend? How are (friends, pets, kids, spouses)? Are you planning on any New Year’s resolutions? From there pick a detail from their answer and dig deeper.
Have an Escape Plan
Sometimes people are just boring, too long-winded, too crazy/dramatic, or, maybe you just need a break. Know how to get out before you get in. Whether its planned bathroom breaks, an excuse to leave early, or a friend who can save you from boring Joe, working it out beforehand makes your escape seem less forced.
This may not be difficult for INTJs as they are natural planners who keep track of things easily; however, as the holidays can get particularly crazy, it’s important to keep your mental space running as smoothly as possible. Make sure you track the important things. It doesn’t matter how you track — writing it down, using an app, whatever. The goal is get these tasks out of your mental space so that you can have more mental clarity. Still have holiday gift shopping to do? Make a list of who’s left, your budget, and what you end up purchasing. Don’t forget to request a gift receipt. Hosting a party? Plan your menu, along with individualized steps, and schedule for cooking. Writing it down makes it much more efficient, allowing you to check items off a list, and to remember all of the steps, no matter how unimportant (sometimes forgetting a small step can cause a big problem).
When things don’t go according to plan, it can not only be stressful, but, for INTJs in particular, frustrating. Unfortunately this happens all too often during the holidays. There isn’t much you can do except practice flexibility. This is a season that allows INTJs to really grow as we must embrace all the variables of a chaotic season, and somehow unify them into memorable experiences. The holidays make it a lot easier to identify areas that need growth. Rolling with the punches and thinking fast are valuable skills when problems come your way.
After all the hustle and bustle, you really do deserve something that is just for you. I’m not talking a Gucci bag, unless you’ve got it like that. The holidays are a time of extreme extroversion. Take a moment to breathe in. To see your successes. To appreciate the value that you bring to others. And to treat yourself to a extra cup of hot chocolate (without counting the calories, or beating yourself up). Or, if you really can’t have a cup of hot chocolate without counting the calories, get yourself that book you’ve been wanting. Why? Because you have been consciously, mindfully, spreading the joy of the holiday spirit. Don’t forget to spread a bit of holiday cheer to yourself. Everyone else will appreciate it, too.
Ultimately, the holidays are not only about family and giving to others, but also giving and caring for yourself. Tomorrow is the first day of the Christmas 2016 season. I’m so excited. I love Christmas, and look forward to every day of the season. For me, as for many other introverts, there is so much joy to be found in the quiet moments, in the sharing of love, and in the making of new memories. I hope that your holidays are filled with such experiences. Happy Holidays!
By the way, for those of you looking for the last of the Mastermind Series, the articles will be uploaded at the end of January. Again, so sorry for setting that expectation, and not seeing it through. Hopefully, it will be worth the wait.
I think the reward system is really helpful in this case. I think there is a tendency for people to get burned out by the holidays, especially as an introvert. I like to give myself a chunk of time to recharge where I don’t have to focus on my to-do list.