The holidays are upon us. For many of us, that means a frenzy of family dinners, gift exchanges, office parties, shopping, cooking, staying up till midnight until the ball drops, and more.
It can be fun. It really can. But there’s also a sinister side to the holidays, one that we don’t talk about until it punches us right in the introvert battery: the pure, absolute exhaustion.
It’s the kind of exhaustion that makes you want to chuck your cell phone out the frosty-paned window, shove bits of holiday greeting cards in your ears, and get cozy-drunk on chamomile tea. It’s when you’re so tired that you can’t stand the thought of interacting with another human being, even if they come bearing cookies and eggnog. You just want to be alone at home in your elastic waistband leggings, with no places to go and no people to see, except maybe the cat.
Perhaps at this very moment, you are steeling yourself for what’s coming in the next few days. And if you’re an introvert, it isn’t just the prepping, cooking, and shuffling between family functions that wears you out. It’s the actual socializing that drains you, too — probably even more than the prepping.
If the holidays are sucking you dry of energy and leaving you a vapid shell of your former self, take heart. You will not have to endure much longer. Relief has a name, and it is “World Introvert Day.”
What Is World Introvert Day?
World Introvert Day is Jan. 2. Although not an official holiday, World Introvert Day has been celebrated by introverts across the globe since 2011. It started when Felicitas Heyne published this blog post calling for a day for us quiet ones, and we quiet ones answered with a very loud and emphatic, “YES!”
It’s no coincidence that World Introvert Day falls right after the last of the major winter holidays (New Year’s Day). The idea is that introverts set aside this time to recharge after the busy, tiring holiday season.
It’s also a day to bring awareness to introversion and remind the world that being an introvert is something awesome, not shameful.
Why Do Introverts Need a Day for Them?
First of all, as much as we love our friends and family, all that holiday togetherness can be absolutely exhausting. As I explain in my book, that’s because introverts are wired a little differently than extroverts. Due to the way the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine affects us, we just don’t get “high” off socializing and other forms of stimulation like extroverts do.
Solitude is the savior of our soul (err, energy). It lowers our stimulation level to one that is just right, allowing us to rest and recharge. Without enough downtime, introverts get physically tired, mentally drained, and irritable. On the very extreme end of social burnout, introverts may have trouble concentrating and forming coherent sentences, or feel depressed, anxious, and even physically ill.
The idea behind World Introvert Day is that introverts take time to recharge. And really, we inward-oriented personalities need more than just one day a year to maintain our energy (and sanity). We must have alone time on the regular. World Introvert Day serves as a reminder of that very important need.
Also, with much of our society geared toward extroverts, it seems only fitting that introverts would get one day set aside for them. Personally, I’m hoping that introverts won’t stay quiet about World Introvert Day. And as a result, we’ll open the door to more conversations about how society can finally start accepting and accommodating the introvert’s way.
How to Celebrate World Introvert Day
There’s only one way to celebrate World Introvert Day: Do something that brings you energy and life, whatever that may be.
For most introverts, that means being alone, tucked away in their bedroom or another corner of the house, doing their thing. They might read, write, play a video game, bake, knit tiny hats for cats, watch movies, or whatever.
But every introvert knows you don’t have to be completely alone to regain your energy. Being with a spouse, friend, or roommate — quietly — can work just as well. Preferably the two of you are hanging out at home, enjoying each other’s presence, but not feeling obligated to chat chat chat.
If your schedule (and energy) allow, try visiting a museum, coffee shop, book store, or other venue of your choice at a time when not many people will be there. Or go out for hot chocolate (or whatever your drink of choice is) and have a meaningful conversation with someone, one-on-one, who makes you feel better by being in their presence, not drained.
Personally, I think the most relaxing way to pass an afternoon or evening involves pajama pants, food delivery, and a good book — whether it’s World Introvert Day or not.
However you celebrate World Introvert Day, remember that your sanity depends on it.
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Learn more: The Secret Lives of Introverts: Inside Our Hidden World, by Jenn Granneman