So how did Thanksgiving go? Any great stories to share? Did Anxiety show up for you or anyone else at the dinner table? Did you recognize it? Did you kick it’s ass?
Our Thanksgiving Day went well. The cold that my daughter had been working so hard to share with me all week decided to park itself in my throat, so I decided to embrace it and be grateful that all of the prior planning and communication allowed the day to run very smoothly without a lot of energy expenditure on my part. I chose to sit back and listen to the stories rather than be the story teller. Our group (which is a mix of family and friends) has done this dance for a few years now and it was amazing to watch each member execute their contribution (the gravy maker arriving just as the turkey was being prepped for carving and capturing it’s savory juices) and how it all came together like a well rehearsed ballet 😊
Being sick is a time for me to put the brakes on and to spend more quiet time reflecting. While I “missed out” on a few things over the weekend, it gave me pause to consider that I can get easily overwhelmed this time of year. There is a lot of “hustle and bustle” associated with he holiday season. Time with family and friends, the incessant advertisements, Santa’s arrival, tree hunting, decorating, parties (and we have two birthdays to throw into the already busy season 😳), and our own expectations of what “should” get done can be completely overwhelming 😳
For those who tend toward the more extroverted end of the spectrum, this time of year with all of it’s busyness and social interaction must seem like an endless source of energy. For those of us who tend more toward the introverted end, this time of year can leave us wanting to crawl in a hole and hibernate 😬
So what do you know about being Introverted vs. Extroverted? The first time that I took the MBTI (Meyer’s Briggs Type Indicator) Personality Test, when I was in college, the one clear indicator (it was not middle of the road like the others were) of the four aspects that the test measures, was on the Introvert vs. Extrovert scale. I was full on Introvert! According to the MBTI, this aspect of our personality measures whether we prefer to live in the outer world (Extroverts) or our Inner World (Introverts).
It wasn’t until years later that I heard this explained better by using the “How do you charge your battery?” explanation. Do you get recharged and energized by being around other people or do you need quiet time (in your own head) to process and recharge?
OK, so if you are now saying to yourself, “What the fuck are you talking about and what does this have to do with Anxiety?”, bear with me 😉
Over the years as I have worked with more and more people who struggle with constant worry, perfectionism, sensitivities, feeling like an imposter, obsessions, fears, and all of the other fun stuff that is associated with Anxiety, I have noticed that many of them have a history of feeling like something is “wrong” with them for wanting to slow down, to do one social activity a day (rather than 3 or 4), or for despising the small talk that is associated with large social situations. When I ask them whether they identify as more introverted or extroverted, many have either not heard of these strange terms, or they say “I’m not shy” (a misconception about being more introverted).
Once we explore this aspect of their personality a little more deeply, I have watched the lines of worry on their faces give way to glimmer of hope in their eyes. They start to nod their head and their shoulders relax as the Rubik’s Cube in their head clicks into place. I love watching people discover a piece of information that allows them to understand and even accept themselves at least a little bit better than the moment before that information was shared 😍. It’s part of the reason that I do what I do!
So what do you think? Does this time of year overwhelm you and leave you either 1) thinking there is something “wrong” with you for not wanting to participate in every party and activity possible or 2) praying for a snowstorm so you can have an excuse for staying home and hibernating? Consider whether you might tend more toward the Introvert side of the equation and give yourself permission to take some time each day to recharge your battery. Introverts are not anti-social, we just have to plan for how we share our energy with others AND how we can get some quiet time to recharge our batteries.
I will be revisiting and expanding on this next week, so tune in “same bat time, same bat channel” 😊
Will you do me a favor? Hit reply and let me know where you fall on the Introvert - Extrovert scale. Do you identify strongly with one or the other? Do you fall near the middle and see yourself as an Ambivert (a mix of both)? I wanna know 😍😘
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor