Mental & Emotional Health
Surviving the Holidays as An Introvert
Extroverts get energy and adrenaline from being at a busy party. Introverts are the opposite. Being in a large crowd or a humming social event can make them feel drained, empty, and disconnected. It’s called the ‘introvert hangover,’ and they can be especially common this time of year with holiday parties and socializing at an all-time high.
Dr. Laura Berman, sex therapist and Quantum Love author, says, “Sometimes the symptoms of an introvert hangover can be physical (your head might throb, your eyes might burn, or maybe your body feels numb or achy). Other times the symptoms are merely emotional—you might feel irritable, angry, depressed, or empty.”
Luckily, there are ways to recover from an introvert hangover (and ways to prevent them entirely). Here are some of Berman’s top tips:
Create a solitude chamber in your closet or other small, enclosed place. “Create your own little ‘womb’ in a dark, private, quiet area where you can enclose yourself for complete privacy. No phones allowed or other distractions. You could play some light, relaxing New-Age music but total silence would probably work best. Sit there after a party for 10-15 minutes and let the noise and stress just ooze off you.”
Mediate while at a party. “If a party is getting overwhelming, excuse yourself. Go to the bathroom and run out to your car quickly. You can also go outside, weather permitting. Sit and close your eyes for five minutes while repeating a soothing mantra that is meaningful to you, a mantra that will help connect you back to your source. It might just be a simple greeting, like “Hello, Me.” Sounds silly, but greeting yourself can help you to reconnect and calm down.”
Beware of drinking too much. “Alcohol might soothe those feelings of anxiety, but only in the moment. It will drive you further away from your inner world and cause crushing feelings of despair and disconnect the following day. Stay aware and attune to the anxiety you are experiencing. What does it have to teach you? Where do you feel it in your body? Bring awareness to it. Notice it. Stay curious.”
Celebrate your introversion. “Let’s face it, we live in an extroverted society. Americans are known for being friendly, outgoing, and social. Accept the fact that you are an introvert. Celebrate it. Find what is good about your introversion.”
Allow yourself to say no. “You don’t have to accept every invitation, nor do you have to invent lies or excuses for why you can’t attend. Instead, be honest with your friends and say, “I need some time to recharge and practice self-care tonight. Can we get together next week for coffee instead?”
Laura Berman, Ph.D., is a world-renowned educator and therapist in the area of love, sex, and relationships. She is the founder and director of the Berman Institute in Chicago, which specializes in helping couples learn to resolve conflict, come together in crises, and grow their emotional and physical intimacy to new heights. She is assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and obstetrics/gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Considered a thought leader in her field, Dr. Berman is a New York Times best-selling author of many books on love, sex, and relationships and host of the nationally syndicated radio show Uncovered Radio with Dr. Laura Berman. She has appeared in the pages of nearly every major U.S. magazine and newspaper, as well as on most television talk and news shows. Dr. Berman serves on the advisory board for The Dr. Oz Show and is the most frequent guest on Steve Harvey. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three sons, and dog. Visit her website, www.drlauraberman.com.