Christmas for introverts and HSPs: How to survive “the most wonderful time of the year”

Christmas for introverts and hsps
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

The holidays can be difficult for many reasons. But Christmas for introverts and HSPs can be especially tough.

Our quiet personalities aren’t exactly a perfect fit for raucous holiday gatherings.

You might have felt shame over struggling with the “most wonderful time of the year”.

But accepting the truth of who you are and taking good care of yourself over Christmas will make things better for everyone.

Here are 5 reasons Christmas for introverts and HSPs is hard. And how to deal with these hurdles for a more enjoyable time.

1. We generally dislike parties.

Large noisy gatherings are kryptonite to introverts and HSPs. The small talk and over-stimulation exhaust us. They make us want to go home and curl up with a book.

Large noisy gatherings are kryptonite to introverts and HSPs. The small talk and over-stimulation exhaust us. They make us want to go home and curl up with a book. Click To Tweet

It’s impossible to avoid parties altogether over Christmas holidays. However, you can choose the ones you simply can’t opt out of, and say no to the rest.

Remember to have an exit strategy. You want to be able to leave when you’re ready and not rely on someone else’s timeline for your ride home.

You don’t have to explain, but it’s okay to say why you’re declining an invitation.

In this time of increased online communication, I’ve started saying “I’m Zoomed out this week.” That’s a good enough reason for saying no to another digital hangout.

2. We hate to be rushed or tied to tight deadlines.

Rushing around buying gifts for every last person in your extended family can be exhausting.

Consider reducing your gift list or doing a secret Santa where you only buy for one person in a group.

Plan well in advance and do most of your shopping online. That helps you avoid the crowded stores at Christmas.

Embrace a minimalist approach to Christmas. This means placing more emphasis on non-material gifts, like time together or in worship.

And spending less time on gifts and other trappings of the season, like decorations and elaborate dinners.

3. We prefer deep connections to shallow conversation.

Christmas for introverts and HSPs

Choose to avoid big cocktail parties where small talk flows more freely than the alcohol that fuels it.

When you can, opt instead for dinner plans with friends or a quiet night in.

The unstructured time during Christmas gatherings can be stressful to introverts and HSPs.

The unstructured time during Christmas gatherings can be stressful to introverts and HSPs. Click To Tweet

Get out for a walk if you need some time and space alone from the crowd.

Playing board games or offering to help clean up, both feed the introvert and HSPs need for purpose. It structures our time in a way that feels good to us.

4. We need down time, even a nap, to feel refreshed.

Creating white space in your calendar is a form of minimalism that speaks to your soul.

Be kind to yourself and leave lots of room in your Christmas schedule for time alone. You’ll need rest and rejuvenation before the next social event to avoid burning out.

Tell the truth about yourself without shame. A frenzy of activity might work for some, but it can be soul-crushing and health threatening for you.

Refuse to abandon yourself to the demands of the Christmas season. You can take care of your own needs while also taking care of others.

Don't let anyone (especially yourself) guilt you into taking on more than you can comfortably chew. Know your limits and put boundaries in place to protect them. Click To Tweet

Don’t let anyone (especially yourself) guilt you into taking on more than you can comfortably chew. Know your limits and put boundaries in place to protect them.

5. We’re more sensitive to toxic families.

This one is most applicable to HSPs who are finely attuned to others’ emotions. But we all suffer from the effects of toxic families, especially at Christmas time.

You can choose to exclude toxic family members from your gatherings. Or you can decide not to attend events where conflict will be high.

You can also prepare in advance by telling the toxic person what you will and will not tolerate. And what you plan to do if they cross your boundary.

For instance, you might say you’ll leave the room if they insult you or otherwise harm you verbally.

If you’re struggling with toxic family members, you will benefit from my free guide that walks you through four steps to liberate yourself. You can grab it by entering your email below.

How to set boundaries for introverts and highly sensitive people

Did you know almost half of all people are introverts? That’s why it’s strange the world seems so much better suited to extroverts.

What’s more surprising is that parties really only appeal to about 10% of the population.

Might this have something to do with the central importance of alcohol at these events?

Parties are so uncomfortable for most people they use alcohol as a bridge to connect with other attendees.

But, it’s a false bridge not based on connection at all. The type of socializing we endure at parties actually separates us from one another.

Nobody feels closer to anyone else based on knowing what they do for a living. Or the makeup of their family unit, or successes in life.

We connect based on our foibles and dark sides. We feel closer to people when we reveal vulnerable aspects of our characters. When we share our hopes, fears, and failures. Click To Tweet

We connect based on our foibles and dark sides. We feel closer to people when we reveal vulnerable aspects of our characters. When we share our hopes, fears, and failures.

Introverts know this instinctively and have a more difficult time wearing a social mask. We find it absolutely exhausting.

That’s why the #1 boundary for introverts is avoiding parties as much as possible.

Here are 4 boundaries for introverts and highly sensitive people.

1. Don’t feel obligated to attend parties.

The small talk that dominates most parties can feel intolerable to highly sensitive people and most introverts.

The auditory overwhelm and lack of sincere connection are a toxic combination for these people.

If you must attend, be it a graduation ceremony or wedding reception, limit your time there.

Make sure you have your own way home so you can leave when you’re ready without imposing on anyone else.

2. Honor your need for alone time.

Organize your life so you have plenty of time to yourself. This may dictate the type of job you do.

Bake plenty of white space into your calendar. Pencil in your alone time if you need to.

Don’t feel the need to say yes to things simply because there’s space in your schedule.

Don't feel the need to say yes to things simply because there's space in your schedule. Click To Tweet

Be slow to respond to requests for your time. A simple, “Let me get back to you on that,” gives you space to evaluate whether this is good for you.

3. Express your needs clearly.

Rather than going along with what other people want, think of what you want. Understand your likes and dislikes and express them.

Knowing your needs and fulfilling them helps you hone your gifts. So, if someone asks you to do something misaligned with your talents, you can explain you’re better suited to some other task.

Let the extroverts host the PTA meetings, or lead the fundraising drive. You’re giving someone else the opportunity to use their gifts in a more visible role.

4. Question your conditioning.

Have you been punished for speaking up for your needs? Perhaps you feel guilty when you stand up for what you want.

Push past these valid obstacles and know that setting boundaries is an act of courage.

You will come up against opposition. That’s how you build your boundary setting muscles.

Romance scammers more common than you think: How to protect yourself

romance scammers
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Women make up 82% of victims of romance scammers. In spite of this fact, the media is saturated with stories about female grifters who dupe both men and women.

This is a curious bias and hugely misleading reporting. It gives women the false sense that men are no worse than women in this area.

This puts women at risk of being victimized. Another popular false belief is that only gullible women fall for these traps.

Instead, these women tend to be intelligent, highly educated, and successful in their fields of work.

Victims of romance scammers tend to be intelligent, educated, and successful in their fields of work. Click To Tweet

Women who fall for romance scammers are not stupid or naïve. They are trustworthy and community oriented. In other words, good people who expect the same in others.

How do romance scammers operate?

It starts with “love bombing”, a common tactic among narcissists. That intense attention and affection that moves things too fast and prompts you to let down your guard.

They also pretend to like and dislike the same things you do. To build a false sense in you of having found the perfect partner.

Anyone can Google your name or read your Facebook profile to find out all kinds of things about you. This is material they use to give you the false sense of feeling “known”.

Scammers will isolate you and seek out victims who are already lacking support. If you have suffered a recent trauma like divorce you are far more likely to fall for one.

How to avoid romance scammers

Here are 4 ways to protect yourself from falling for a romantic grifter:

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1. Don’t commit too fast.

Spend time with someone before becoming over involved with them or giving your heart away.

In the Dirty John podcast, his victim let him move in after only five weeks and married him shortly after.

2. Listen to what others say about him.

And not only the positive comments. Romance scammers are experts at conning people.

But listen to the one who points out his cracks. Or says she can’t put her finger on why she doesn’t trust him.

Women’s intuition is real and the woman who trusts hers is a gifted advisor. Pay attention to what she says.

Women's intuition is real and the woman who trusts hers is a gifted advisor. Click To Tweet

3. Trust your own intuition.

Most women have spent their lives downplaying their God-given intuition. This is because we live in a world that downgrades feminine attributes and elevates cold logic instead.

Listen to that voice inside you and heed those red flags. They will always be there to mark the way to safety.

Avoid online romance scams this Valentine's Day | Buzz

4. If he seems too good to be true, he is.

He claims to have a high-flying job but needs to borrow money. That’s a huge red flag and a common theme among romance scammers.

He has all the same interests as you and supports all the causes you do. Anyone could find those details on your Facebook profile.

Romance scammers use clichés women love to hear but most normal men never say! Click To Tweet

He uses clichés that women love to hear but most normal men never say! Like, “I can’t take my eyes off you,” or “you’re the most amazing woman I’ve ever met.”

Be suspicious when he says these things very early on, like a first date. Pretending to fall for you immediately is the biggest romance scam of all.

Toxic people in the workplace: how to protect yourself

toxic people workplace
Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

Chances are you’ve had to deal with toxic people in the workplace at some point in your life. Maybe you’re dealing with them now.

Toxic people in the workplace come in a number of different forms.

In my career, I’ve experienced harassers, bullies, manipulators, and gossips. And I’m sure you can think of more examples among the people you’ve encountered at work.

The stress of dealing with toxic people in the workplace impacts your health and your ability to do your job. Click To Tweet

The stress of dealing with toxic people in the workplace impacts your health and your ability to do your job. The effects include but are not limited to:

  1. decreased job satisfaction
  2. lost sleep
  3. low productivity
  4. increased stress
  5. poor mental health

How to protect yourself

So, how do you protect yourself from these soul suckers? Here are 4 ways to deal with toxic people in the workplace:

1. Find supporters.

Form relationships with positive people in the office. You don’t need to talk to them about the difficult person.

Simply having good people on your side acts as an antidote to counter the effects of the toxic coworker.

2. Set boundaries.

Do your best not to respond emotionally to the toxic person. Rise above their madness and refuse to get pulled down to their level.

If it’s the office gossip, socializer, or negative Nancy, tell them you can’t talk right now, you’re busy working.

Use body language to indicate your unwillingness to engage with them. This could mean averting your eyes when they approach.

Or you could wear headphones as a barrier.

Bad Coworker GIFs | Tenor

I used to work at a place where my department would meet for lunch every day and gossip about everyone who wasn’t there.

I stayed silent until one day I decided to take my lunches outside rather than stew in that toxic environment.

3. Have good self care.

Meditation helps keep your mind off the offending person and on the present moment instead. It also calms your brain and gives you more mental clarity.

Get a good night’s sleep. You’re more susceptible to someone’s manipulation and other toxic tactics when you’re not well-rested. It’s also essential for your overall well-being.

You're more susceptible to someone's manipulation and other toxic tactics when you're not well-rested. Click To Tweet

Eating healthy and exercising regularly are two more ways to stay physically healthy and emotionally fit. They’ll increase your confidence to counteract the negative effects of your coworker.

Take time off for vacations and personal days when you are permitted to do so. It’s important to get away to reset and refresh and take care of interests you have outside of work.

4. Focus on solutions.

Rather than ruminate on things you can’t control, focus on actions you can take.

There’s no point trying to understand the mind and motives of an irrational person. These people are driven by nefarious methods of getting their way at any cost.

There's no point trying to understand the mind and motives of an irrational person. Click To Tweet

Instead of dwelling on the problem of the toxic person, think of ways you can manage them and maintain your sanity. This helps you feel more in control.

Tell yourself they must be insecure and unhappy and try to find compassion for them.

Don’t bother trying to reason with them or have a civil conversation. They don’t care about you and only know how to deflect blame.

If you do complain, they may manipulate the situation to make you look bad. So arm yourself with evidence and stick to the facts if you are forced to bring in HR.

Sometimes the best way to protect yourself means staying silent. Unlike a toxic friend or family member, you can’t detach yourself from a toxic person in the workplace.

Overwhelmed by motherhood? 3 simple steps to self care

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood? A mom with a freshly empty nest posted on Facebook about her first grocery trip without kids in the house.

She couldn’t wait to shop without the desires of her children dictating what she bought. What could be more blissful?

Instead of bliss, she discovered something all too common among moms with new freedom.

She had no idea what she liked and didn’t like.

She had spent the last 18 years taking care of everybody’s else’s needs, and hers got lost along the way.

You don’t want to wake up one day and realize you have no idea who you are outside of your identity as a mother.

So, what can you do today to prevent the pain of losing yourself while doing the important work of raising children? Here are three steps to stop feeling overwhelmed as a mom.

What can you do to prevent the pain of losing yourself while raising children? Click To Tweet

1. Figure out what you need

The first step is to figure out your unique needs. You might feel drained by stuff that others sail through.

It could be you’re an introvert or highly sensitive person.

You’d do better in small groups or spending one on one time with your child.

Or maybe you need a project to fulfill your need to create. Like writing, or knitting, or even a business venture.

Then again, maybe the last thing you need is more to do. You salivate at the thought of staring out the Starbucks window with a steaming cup of peppermint tea. Alone.

That’s good, too.

There are no right or wrong answers here. Your aim is to find what fills your cup and makes you feel most like you.

Think about things you loved to do as a kid before the world got in your head and told you it was wrong.

Think about things you loved to do as a kid before the world got in your head. Click To Tweet

For me, solitary activities like reading, rug-hooking and coloring gave me joy. The success of adult coloring books proves I’m not alone.

2. Ask for what you want and be specific

Maybe two hours on a Tuesday night is all you need. Enough time to browse a bookstore or enjoy a meal with a friend. You want to read your Bible and let it soak in for a change.

Or, maybe you need a whole day on the weekend to work on a project.

Ask someone in the family to take the kids on an outing. And not just this Saturday. Do it consistently. This is you giving others the chance to bond.

Asking might also look like saying ‘no‘.

Declining invitations that don’t feed your soul will free up some of that precious me time you’re after.

Anger and resentment build up when we carry too much, feel overwhelmed, and expect someone else to notice.

The truth is, people assume you’re okay, otherwise you would have said something.

Take the risk to share your need for help and teach people how to support you.

3. Follow through and challenge guilt

self care overwhelmed busy moms

The third step is to follow through. Challenge the guilt that is sure to come when you move yourself up from the bottom of your list.

That twinge or onslaught of remorse is a test to build up your self-worth muscle. This is where you prove to yourself you’re worth taking care of.

Change is hard and both our minds and people around us will play tricks to make us stay the same.

And remember some people won’t like your boundaries.

This is not a cue to take them down, but to strengthen them. These people are the very reason you need boundaries in the first place.

Finding out your needs and taking steps to fulfill them is necessary fuel. By nurturing yourself, you come back with a full cup from which to pour into others.

Whether you start work on a new project or stare into space with a cup of coffee doesn’t matter. Resist the urge to judge how you do self-care.

Congratulate yourself for doing the hard work to stop feeling overwhelmed. Your health and your sanity depend on you having a balanced life.

Your loved ones will thank you for it. And even if they don’t, have the courage to do it anyway.