By Diana Cruz
I’m someone you would call an “extroverted introvert,” or as Google so kindly put it, an ambivert. Spending time with my family and friends, and even getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people, brings me excitement and a sense of fulfillment. Yet, I’ve noticed that these feelings only bring me a positive experience when there is also a balance of “me time.” I’ve found that time alone to prepare prior to an event, as well as afterward to recharge is ideal, personally. However, as someone who comes from a big Dominican family, finding this time alone can sometimes be difficult, especially during the holidays.
As the holiday season sneakily approaches, I know it’ll soon be time to mentally prepare myself for the array of outings that are to come. It is through trial and error that I have found what works best for me, so that I may enjoy time with my family and friends while also taking care of my mental health. Here are some tips and tricks for my fellow ambiverts for upcoming gatherings:
Enjoy your ‘get ready’ time.
Getting prepared for an outing is way more than just getting physically dressed for the occasion. It is allowing your mind to prepare for being social. Personally, I consider it “me time.” I like to ensure I have at least an hour or two before an event so that I can really take my time showering, doing my hair and make-up, and finding an outfit that makes me feel both comfortable and confident. I like to watch YouTube videos or listen to my favorite music – this usually gets me in a great mood and ready for a night of socializing. Whether it’d be alone time or getting ready with friends – create a process that makes you feel your best!
Even if it is a bathroom break or a two-minute de-brief, take some time to check in with yourself and your body. Drinking water usually helps, especially if you are attending an outing that isn’t going as planned. When I notice myself getting antsy, I usually find comfort in sneaking away to an empty room or stepping outside for some air.
Pull back if you need to.
Do not feel forced to attend outings simply to meet the expectations of those around you. It is OK to feel anxious or overwhelmed. Remember to set healthy boundaries and stick to them. There will always be future events; do not feel as if you need to attend every single one of them if you do not have the capacity to do so.
Reach out for support.
Whether you are attending holiday events or spending the holidays at home, there are always people who are willing and ready to support you. Seek support from a loved one, friends, or professionally. MSAA also has a number of supportive outlets including our anonymous community forum My MSAA Community, and toll-free Helpline.
The holiday season, although a joyous time, can also be a very difficult one. Now and always, remember to please take care of yourself, your mental health, and your overall well-being. You cannot be there for others if you are not first there for yourself.