Fellow introverts, we deserve better than merely surviving the holidays.

Fellow Introverts: Aim Higher Than Merely Surviving the Holidays

Too often, we introverts think about simply surviving the holidays. But the holidays can—and should—be about so much more. For everyone.

This is the time of year when I swear introverts are being told not to embrace the peace of the holiday season, but to instead prepare for war.

Inevitable war.

The headlines on the trending how-to articles say it all, frequently using the term “survive” (or a close facsimile) to emphasize the apparent stakes involved.

Some examples:

“How to Survive the Holidays as an Introvert” (and dozens of nearly identically titled pieces)

“The Introvert’s Guide to Making It Through the Holiday Season”

“The Introvert’s Guide to Coping with the Holidays”

Even the less battle-oriented articles have an element of inevitable doom and/or doubt in them:

“9 Ways That Introverts Can Actually Enjoy the Holidays”

“Tactics for Introverts During Holiday Family Time”

“Tips for Successfully Navigating the Holiday Season as 
 an Introvert”

Surviving the Holidays Is a Low Bar

I’m sad to say that … I completely understand why these types of 
articles exist, and why they are so widely read.

The holidays often 
are, shall we say, difficult for us 
introverts. I know I’ve had my own struggles in the past. Many times.

But do we really have to set the bar this low where introverts and the holidays are concerned?

No. And we shouldn’t.

Instead, we should make them our own.

Our own way.

The Wisdom of Being “On Holiday”

The British have a way of using the word “holiday” that I’ve always loved: They say “on holiday”—as in “I’m going on holiday” or “he/she is on holiday.”

The phrase essentially means 
“on vacation” or “on R&R.” As the Merriam-Webster dictionary puts 
it, being on holiday is “experiencing a time away from home, school, or business, usually in order to relax 
or travel.”

The key phrase here is “away from,” which in turn implies restoration, rejuvenation, reinvigoration.

“The holidays” can—and should—be about recharging your batteries, at least to some degree.

No, they’re not all about you (or me). But they’re not all about everyone else either.

So why not make a deal with yourself to (re)claim your part of the holidays this year?

Here’s how, using three introvert favorites that you may be neglecting in everyday life.


You and I and millions of other introverts are naturally drawn to reading for good reason: It’s one 
of the few activities that offers us 
a quadruple word score on what I call The 4 Pillars of Introvert Well-Being: Solitude, Reflection, Focus, and Depth.

If you want to get lost in other people’s brains in other people’s worlds—and reap the recharging benefits that go with it—nothing tops reading.

As in reading a book, by the way, or a long-form magazine article. Mindless Facebook or Twitter scrolling isn’t 
remotely the same.


Even if you don’t love writing or view yourself as “a writer,” journaling about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences is amazingly therapeutic and revealing.

I am continually amazed by what, and how much, comes out of me when I write vs. speak. The quality and quantity simply don’t compare.

You don’t have to write for long, and nothing fancy is required. Just put pen to paper in a quiet place.

You can also write a draft of that short story that’s been bouncing around in your head … or a poem … or a song on your guitar.


The holidays, for you, can be 
the time when you finally have the chance to sink your teeth into learning something you’ve always wanted to learn.

Take that new camera—the one you bought last year—out for a real test ride while you’re walking down a snow-filled country road.

Start working through the “Introductory French” program you’ve been wanting to get to.

Watch a TED Talk or three to be inspired and to see how others have pulled off the feat you’d like to accomplish someday.

Go Beyond Surviving the Holidays

One of the cartoons in Debbie Tung’s poignant book Quiet Girl 
in a Noisy World: An Introvert’s Story shows Debbie getting ready to go home from work.

She’s headed for the train station, alone, when a colleague tells her that she, too, is headed to the train station and would like to tag along.

“Oh, great!” Debbie says.

When the two co-workers arrive at the station, a sign tells them that the next train has been delayed and won’t be arriving for 30 agonizing minutes.

“So,” Debbie’s colleague says 
to her as the two of them are sitting on a bench, “any exciting plans for tonight?”

Debbie’s response (in a thought bubble):

“This feels very much like overtime.”

The holidays can feel very much like overtime too, especially if you’re an introvert.

But they can also feel like, and be, a refreshing time, a revitalizing time, a replenishing time—if you think beyond merely “surviving” them and instead make them the physical, 
psychological, and emotional oasis they’re really meant to be.

For everyone.

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