Are you an introvert who plays an extrovert on TV? Or are you simply a straight-up introvert? Try these tips when you need a break from the parties, the football games, the relatives, and the crowds.
1. Offer to house sit. Then you can go to someone else's empty home and visit with their cat or plants or whatever you're watching. You'll have an oasis of quiet and you can get away any time by simply exclaiming, "Oh! I just remembered! I need to go to _______'s house and feed their bird/cat/iguana/boa constrictor."
2. Take a walk. Before or after a meal, at half time, in the morning, at sunset - these are all great times to say, "I'm going out for a walk. I'll see y'all in about a half hour or so." If people want to join you and you'd prefer to be completely alone, explain that you'll be doing a silent walking meditation. Which brings us to a wonderful alone-time option:
3. Meditate. Sometimes people understand "I'm off to do my daily meditation" better than "I really need some alone time." So whether you have a rich and fulfilling meditation practice or not, you can go to a room, close the door, and be by yourself, whether you're silently chanting a mantra or just relaxing with your thoughts.
4. Nap. Jet lag. General holiday exhaustion. Getting over a cold or the flu. A late night of partying. There are so many reasons to offer why you might need to spirit yourself away for a delicious restorative nap. If you're not tired but just want to be alone, you can bring a magazine or book under the covers with you. Holidays are made for napping. Find your favorite cozy spot and prioritize the daily holiday nap.
5. Go running. If you're an athlete, there's nothing like a solo run to clear your head and give you space for yourself. Pop in your favorite tunes, put on your headphones and hustle out the door. Or choose to take in the sounds of nature - breezes through the branches, rustling leaves, crunching frost underfoot- you'll be restored in no time!
6. Volunteer to go to the store for the last minute grocery items/batteries/baked goods/whatever. Sure, you'll have to brave the crowds, but you don't have to interact with strangers except to smile peacefully, so it's almost like being on your own! Then take an extra detour on the way home, stop at a park or a view-- or just sit in the parking lot! - and enjoy five or ten minutes of quiet for yourself.
7. Take a long bath. Add a lot of bath salts. Light some candles. Climb in and close your eyes. Ahhhh.
8. Go to a museum, house of worship or other quiet indoor space. If you're in a place where temps are below freezing, you can get your alone time inside. Even in the most crowded museum in New York City, you'll find rooms and galleries where there's hardly a soul. Relax on a bench and stare at a painting for 20 minutes. Or go to a place of worship, light a candle and sit in silent contemplation.
9. Just stay home. There's no rule that says you have to attend every social event that's available. If you're 18 or over, even if you feel social pressure to be everywhere, know that you have all the choice in the world to do what you really want. Take advantage of that. Unplug your phone, disconnect your computer, make some tea or hot cocoa and curl up with a good book. If you need to, tell folks you'll be out of town. Then stay put and enjoy. Ahhh.