The summer months for military families means PCSing, farewell parties, barbecues, beach gatherings, pool parties, family vacations and meeting new neighbors. In short, it’s a busy, busy time of the year.
For me, summer often brings a bit of social anxiety– so many events and parties, so little time. As an introvert, it’s draining to spend a lot of time with other people and an extremely packed schedule makes me anxious.
Sometimes the anxiety comes from the idea of meeting new people or putting on “airs”, pretending to be happy when I don’t feel happy. Sometimes it’s the idea of having so much scheduled that I don’t have time for myself.
Here are 3 steps that helped me overcome the uneasiness of a full social calendar.
- Know that it’s OK to say “no”. You can politely decline an invitation. If it’s someone you know well, be honest and tell them you have too much going on (or that you’re not comfortable with a crowd). Offer to get together with them at another date without other people around.
- Know that you don’t have to stay the entire time. Give yourself a time limit of an hour or two. This worked well for me during the past Memorial Day weekend. My guy and I went to each party for an hour or two and then headed home to get back to our own work. We attended a different party each day. The events were a welcomed distraction from a mountain of schoolwork and our friends and family were happy to see us.
- Reward yourself with alone time. If you must attend a lot of events or have a busy schedule, plan downtime afterward. Plan a day to read a book or watch a movie. Do something that builds you up and renews you.
Introverts sometimes feel like we’re missing out on life when we don’t attend events. But remember that you need to take care of YOU. If that means taking time to recharge, do it. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of you. On the flip side, definitely enjoy the summer social events. You’ll be glad you did.