Friday, December 14, 2012

Holidays as an Introvert

One of the simplest explanations for the difference between introverts & extroverts I've ever heard is that while being around people energizes the extrovert, it stresses & drains the introvert. And vice versa.

A bit simplistic description, but it's the one that resonates the most for me, helping to underestand the difference between my husband (extrovert) and I (introvert).

Over the next eight days, we have seven holiday get-togethers, one volunteer activity, and one class. In the next 13 days, we have 18 different activities scheduled.

This rolls right off of Jason's back. He knows we'll be busy, but no biggie. In fact, though he won't say it, I think he loves it.

The mere thought of it stresses me. Not the busyness. I can handle busy. The thought of all those social interactions, one after another, with no rest or alone time in sight.I know it will stress me.

I also know it will stress my daughter (also an introvert).

Over the past four years I've learned that to keep Jena on a happy balance, I need to watch how much we do outside the home. She needs time at home. She needs time in her room. She needs her "rest time / quiet play". Her alone time. If we have too much going on she becomes easily agitated and extra whiny until she gets that time.

And so I've learned to watch our schedule. Tonight we will eat out and rush her to gymnastics class. So tomorrow we will eat in and have no plans. An every-other-day schedule, when I can manage it, seems to work well. Gets Jason out of the house enough to keep him energized and focused, gets Jena back in the house enough for her to re-energize. And keeps me sane as well.

The holidays make that type of schedule incredibly difficult.

It makes me wonder if extroverts are just naturally happier around the holidays than introverts. The extra parties and family gatherings, all these social events... they nourish the extrovert personality. But they also drain the introvert. The holidays, at least in our society, seem to be built for the extrovert.

But then again, so many things in our society are, aren't they?

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