If you consider yourself an introvert, you might cringe when you get an email inviting you to an after-work team happy hour or a team-building activity. Even if you understand and strongly believe that teamwork is important to your organization’s success, you might still question the necessity of spending time mingling. While it’s relatively easy to dodge a weekend team outing or leave an office birthday party early, escaping workplace holiday celebrations might prove more challenging.
However, with a handful of straightforward tactics, you can not only endure but flourish amidst the flurry of holiday festivities.
While many people simply think of introversion as shyness, the personality is a little more complex than that.
According to Psychology Today, introverts enjoy “the inner life of the mind over the outer world of other people.” Introverts tend to feel more comfortable making intimate connections with a handful of people instead of being in crowds. Additionally, being around others for extended periods of time without breaks may drain them, and they’ll need alone time to recharge their energy.
In business, people sometimes mischaracterize introverts as shy, scared of other people, or poor leaders, but nothing could be further from the truth. Some of the greatest leaders of our time are introverts including Bill Gates, Barack Obama, and the late Rosa Parks.
However, being an introvert can affect one’s experience in the workplace, especially during the holiday season. Introverts may find themselves less energized and more stressed, as they force themselves to socialize and spend time at crowded holiday events.
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4 Strategies for Handling the Holiday Season as an Introvert
All that said, while the holiday season can present plenty of challenges for introverts, it’s not impossible to get through the coming months with your sanity intact. Here are a few strategies we recommend.
1. Don’t Overextend Yourself
As an introvert, take as much alone time as you need to recharge your energy and feel your best. Learning when to recharge requires a high level of self-awareness and a recognition of your limits. When agreeing to events or engagements, keep your energy levels in mind and don’t overbook yourself.
2. Communicate Your Needs to Colleagues and Superiors
Typically, office parties and similar workplace holiday functions occur during the work week. In such situations, it’s crucial to express your needs and preferences to your coworkers and superiors. For example, if these holiday activities are leaving you exhausted, contemplate informing your manager about your preference to work from home the next day (provided your company’s policy permits).
When interacting with your colleagues, it’s important to recognize the value of team bonding while also recognizing the importance of personal time.
3. Know Your Limits
In your personal sphere, establish clear limits regarding what you can comfortably manage. For example, if accommodating house guests is beyond your comfort zone, make that known. If hosting a holiday gathering for family or friends is too much, be candid about it.
Before attending the office holiday party, determine how long you’d like to stay. Don’t force yourself to continue spending time at the party if you really want to head home and curl up on the couch with a book. You might experience guilt or perceive yourself as not being a team player, but it’s essential to acknowledge your limits and honor them. You’ll appreciate your decision later when you’re not as depleted as you could have been.
4. Look for the Silver Lining
Reframe holiday work events as spaces in which you can move your career and professional goals forward. With coworkers, managers, and senior leaders in attendance, holiday parties are an excellent opportunity to network with colleagues you might not see that often, as well as get some one-on-one time with your superiors. While it’s important to establish personal connections with your team, these discussions can also be used to subtly highlight your recent work achievements and express your enthusiasm for future projects.
The Bottom Line
While this time of year can be challenging, you don’t need to change yourself or your introverted personality this holiday season. With a bit of mindfulness and planning, you can navigate these hurdles effectively.
Looking to leverage your unique qualities as an introvert in the workplace? An Arootah career coach can assist you in enhancing your career and achieving your professional goals, far beyond the holiday season.