Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A New Year's Eve Survival Guide for Introverts and Highly Sensitive People

HSP and introvert new year's eve survival guide
dress: c/o Unique Vintage

Let's face it: being an introvert and a highly sensitive person (HSP) isn't always easy.

If you identify with being a highly sensitive person or being introverted, you'll know that certain social situations can sometimes feel overwhelming. We can handle them if we've learned how to adapt (thanks to our more extroverted friends and available introvert and highly sensitive person coping strategies). But whether we actually want to partake in them is often a different story.

For a long time, I thought it meant I was abnormal when I felt drained after attending a social gathering or dreaded the thought of going to a party or crowded bar. But I eventually learned that the "introvert hangover" is incredibly common – and that there are highly sensitive person coping strategies that could also help me understand my needs a bit better. 

This is especially important during this time of year, as HSPs, introverts and holidays may not always mix well. Introverts and HSPs alike may feel like they're being pushed past their limits when they don't have enough downtime and feel pressured to be "on" for too long. My holiday celebrations tend to be pretty low-key, but in retrospect, I wish that I would have had an introvert's guide to the holidays to consult in the past! 

My New Year's Eve festivities are also pretty quiet these days. I was never big on going out, but I'm now even more inclined to stay in on the last night of the year. Not every HSP or introvert feels the same way, however. No matter what your plans are, you deserve to celebrate in a way that helps you feel your best. If you're looking for a more subdued NYE – even if you don't have a lot of HSP or introvert traits – read on.

In the interest of HSP and introvert holiday survival, I've put together a little guide for a better New Year's Eve. Here are just a few tips I'd recommend that introverts and HSPs (or literally anyone!) keep in mind as they plan for how they'll ring in 2022.

highly sensitive people introvert new years eve

Keep It Small and Short

Speaking from experience, the perfect HSP or introvert New Years Eve celebration is one that doesn't last all night. A lot of us tend to lose steam after a few hours, especially during large gatherings that require us to socialize with a lot of people. Instead of sending out an invitation that specifies "5 PM – ?," plan to attend for only a few hours at most. This might mean getting home before midnight – and that may actually be a good thing.

It's not just the length of time that matters; it's also about who's in attendance. Personally, I tend to fare better in a small group of people I already know. If you identify with being a highly sensitive person or introvert, try to keep your guest list on the smaller side. With a smaller group, you'll probably feel more at-ease and won't have to spend your energy reserves meeting a bunch of unfamiliar folks. 

At a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise, even among the vaccinated, this can give you the perfect excuse to host or attend the perfect introvert New Years Eve. A virtual New Years Eve party will provide you with a little bit of social interaction without ever having to leave your house! And since most people won't want to spend several hours on a Zoom call, you won't have to deal with an introvert hangover on January 1st. 

Plan to Stay In

Maybe this goes without saying, but any introvert or highly sensitive person survival guide will probably include an option for staying home during the holidays. This doesn't mean you shouldn't challenge yourself to go out and socialize (during non-pandemic times, at least). But it does mean you'll want to figure out how you like to celebrate and honor that when making plans.

Whether you have a virtual New Years Eve on a video chat with friends or you decide to enjoy a night in with your BFF or partner, staying home can be the best way to celebrate this occasion. You can dress up or down, you'll have access to your own kitchen and bathroom, and you can turn in whenever you please. 

Having access to these kinds of creature comforts can take the pressure off and allow you to make your own traditions. You don't have to ring in the new year at a bar or in a crowded apartment. Instead, you can play board games, watch a movie marathon, order takeout, or pamper yourself – whatever your heart desires. I'd be willing to bet that you'll go to bed (and wake up) a whole lot happier if you plan to spend at least a portion of the evening decompressing at home.

Get Enough Sleep

HSPs, in particular, tend to feel the negative effects of inadequate sleep. I know that I'm more likely to develop a migraine if I haven't had enough shut-eye. And since no one wants to start the new year off with a headache, I'd prioritize your sleep leading up to your celebrations.

The holidays can often wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. If you know you tend to get grouchy or feel ill when you're sleep-deprived, don't sacrifice your forty winks for the promise of merriment. Being a highly sensitive person sometimes means prioritizing your body's needs. Sometimes, that means cutting things short for the sake of a good night's sleep.

Try to stick to a bedtime routine during the holidays or even take a nap before your New Year's Eve plans. And don't attempt to offset your sleepiness with coffee or soda! HSPs can also be more sensitive to caffeine, which means you may not be able to rely on the methods that others do to feel more awake. The best thing you can do is honor your regular schedule as best you can.

hsp introvert holiday survival guide

Eat and Hydrate Properly

If you're anything like me, you become hangry to the nth degree if you aren't careful. HSPs often feel the effects of hunger or low blood sugar more than other people, which means you really shouldn't go for too long without eating.

When planning for your New Year's Eve festivities, take breaks to have meals and snacks. Be sure to nosh on some protein! Trying to do too much on an empty stomach may make you feel overwhelmed or lightheaded, which definitely isn't ideal if you're out of the house and in a social situation. 

Take care to hydrate, as well. Whether or not you plan to drink alcohol, you'll feel a lot better if you don't become dehydrated. Stave off a possible headache and feel your best by drinking lots of H2O. 

Take a Time Out

Introverts and HSPs can often become drained or overstimulated in noisy social environments. You don't necessarily need to avoid these situations entirely, as it's often better to learn the introvert and highly sensitive person coping strategies that will allow you to navigate the world as it is. 

Instead, plan to take some breaks during the evening so you can reset. This might include grabbing a buddy to go outside for a bit of fresh air or asking your host if there's a quiet bedroom where you can retreat for five or 10 minutes. If you start to feel like everything's a bit too much, give yourself permission to take a few moments for yourself. Take some relaxing breaths, have some water and a snack, and dim the lights. Small time-outs like these can help you recharge a little bit during a gathering.

Bring or Wear Comfortable Shoes

Whether you're looking for introvert New Years Eve tips or you simply want to have a better time when you're celebrating, I'd recommend thinking ahead to the tired version of yourself. You might feel great in your high-heeled boots when you're heading out, but you're going to be pretty miserable by the end of the night. 

To get more longevity out of your social reserves, you'll want your body to feel its best. That means dressing for comfort. You don't have to opt for ugly footwear, but I guarantee you'll be overjoyed that you brought comfy shoes in your purse to change into later on in the evening. Bring some bandaids, too. You'll thank me later.

hps introvert new years eve

Consider Staying Sober

I know this one might be a bit controversial – and this isn't going to apply to every introvert or HSP across the board. As a teetotaler, I'm also biased in this area. But if you've got highly sensitive person traits or you tend to be more introverted, it might be worth examining your relationship with alcohol on New Year's Eve (or during any occasion, for that matter).

Research suggests that some HSPs are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than the average person. I've definitely found this to be true for myself, which is just one reason why I don't drink. Anecdotally, many HSPs say that they rely on alcohol to temper the overstimulation we sometimes experience; because we're constantly taking in so much of what's around us, booze can sometimes be used to dull that sensation and make things feel a little more manageable.

Understandably, alcohol and other addictive substances can present problems for some HSPs. Introverts may also lean on alcohol to help them come out of their shell. Obviously, this can be problematic in some situations.

If you feel pressured to drink alcohol on holidays to fit in or calm your anxieties, you're not alone. But if you find that drinking has negative effects on your mood or your life, you may want to look for some highly sensitive person coping strategies that don't involve imbibing on NYE. 

Looking for some alternatives to boozy beverages? Check out my New Year's Eve mocktails post from last year for inspiration.

There's nothing inherently wrong with having a glass of champagne or having a couple of drinks on NYE, even if you've got HSP or introvert traits. But if you've partied too hard in the past and you'd like to wake up feeling good, remember that you can still have a great time while sober.

Set Boundaries and Have an Escape Plan

Highly sensitive people are often confused with empaths. It's possible to be both, but these terms are actually mutually exclusive. In turn, empaths can sometimes have poor boundaries with other people. As someone who is highly sensitive and a people pleaser, I'll tell you that I've often sacrificed my own well-being for the sake of others' good time.

Being an introvert and HSP in her thirties, I've now learned that these tendencies can be really damaging for me. It's still not easy for me to set boundaries, but it's become a necessary part of life. Note that setting boundaries doesn't mean trying to dictate others' behavior; it simply outlines what you're willing to accept or tolerate (and what you're not). You don't even have to tell anyone else what your boundaries are. But regardless, you need to be prepared to follow through.

For example, say that you know you don't want to be around other people who are engaging in certain behaviors on New Year's Eve. You can't control the decisions that others make, but you can make your own choice about the kinds of situations you're willing to be in. You might set a boundary that you won't stay at a party where someone's choices make you uncomfortable or you won't ride in a car with someone who's been drinking. You'll have to follow through on this boundary if that does happen – which means having a plan of action. 

In this scenario, you might strike a deal with your friend or partner that you'll leave at a certain time or if you feel the situation is no longer healthy for you. You might also ask a friend to call them to pick you up or download the Uber app and plan to use it if necessary. 

Even if you don't anticipate needing to follow through with a strict boundary during your New Year's Eve celebrations, you may still want to have a "plan of escape" if you simply feel too exhausted or overwhelmed at any point. Again, setting a time limit on the festivities or even establishing a signal with a friend can ensure you have a great time without pushing yourself too hard and regretting it later.

new years eve survival guide introverts highly sensitive

Refer to These Tips For HSP and Introvert Holiday Survival 

Being a highly sensitive person or introvert doesn't mean you're drastically different from other people. It also doesn't mean there's something wrong with you or that you need to "get over" these traits! Introversion and high sensitivity can be incredible assets. But if you get stressed out in highly social situations or you want to avoid feeling drained at the end of the night, these tips can often help. 

Again, this doesn't mean you shouldn't ever push yourself to go out. (Although right now, a virtual New Years Eve party would be a lot safer!) You don't always have to stay in, even if your HSP and introvert traits are strong. But no matter where you celebrate, looking out for your unique physical and emotional needs can be one of the best ways to enjoy yourself. 

If you identify as an HSP or introvert, what are some of your favorite survival tips? Do you feel like this introvert and highly sensitive person survival guide applies to you? Let me know in the comments!

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