You love your family, of course you do. But you especially love them in small doses and from a distance!
If you're an introvert and aren't used to being in such close proximity to so many people, you can feel your batteries draining quickly. It all feels claustrophobic and stressful and you want to get away.
How do you cope?
Christmas is a difficult thing to negotiate for introverts because although you LIKE people and enjoy company, you find big groups, small talk and prolonged periods with people both stressful and exhausting.
The difficulty is, if you want time alone people think there is something wrong, or that you are unhappy, or antisocial - which simply isn't the case.
The most important thing you can do is to communicate with people that you need time alone, and why.
If you explain in advance that you'd like some space during the visit, and that nothing is wrong, the host won't worry about you disappearing for a while, so you get a 2 birds/1 stone effect of time alone while reassured that you aren't being rude.
People respond well to this sort of communication, because they want you to enjoy your Christmas and this lets them know how they can help.
You could maybe give them a couple of blogs to read, so they understand you and your needs better. 'The introverts Christmas' from Northwest Edible Life , for example, or 'Celebrating Christmas as an introvert' from Introvert Retreat. You should probably have a read yourself as they are pretty great.
Let people know you need time alone, so they know you're ok #Introvert
Another way of finding some pockets of time to get some space is to offer to do practical things.
I love this: 'How an introvert does thanksgiving' by Quite Revolution. I picked up a brilliant idea - set up a jigsaw puzzle in a quiet corner, so you can be 'sociable' without actually having to talk. Genius.
Offer to walk the dog, or to go to the shop, or pick up and drop people off. This will give you some space to recharge your batteries.
Any time you have to yourself, make the most of it. Take 10 deep breaths, breathing out for slightly longer than you breath in. Or meditate. Or immerse yourself in music.
Cash in on any and all opportunities to preserve you sanity, and make the time as enjoyable as possible.
Close company with people, even people you love, is stressful. Plan ahead, and make it as easy on yourself as you can. The more you can make space for yourself, the more you will enjoy the time you spend with others.
This is a perfect example of how self knowledge really helps, because if you know in advance it'll be difficult you can take steps now, and plan to make things easier for yourself.
If you'd like to increase your self knowledge, journaling is the place to start so be sure to check out How To Start A Journal.
Jane Travis is a qualified and experienced counsellor and clinical supervisor in the Lincoln area. She has been working at Reflections Counselling Lincoln since 2005. She also helps other counsellors and therapists market and grow their private practices at JaneTravis.co.uk.