It’s that time of year again. The stream of anxiety-ridden, introverted clients who have concerns about parties and social events is increasing as the holiday draws near. As someone who is on the far end of the introverted continuum, I “get it,” which is a tremendous relief to my clients.
But for those of you who don’t, here are some practical strategies to help your clients soar through the holidays:
Remind clients they are not alone. According to experts, introverts make up 20 to 30 percent of the population. So, chances are they’re not the only ones in the room who needs a break. In a group of ten, two or three will be experiencing anxious feelings similar to those of your client. Help them find strength in numbers.
Validate your client’s need for down time. For introverts, down time is a necessity, not a luxury. Because few people validate their need for alone time, introverts often feel guilty asking for it or taking out time for themselves. I can feel the weight lift from my introverted clients when I take time to normalize their needs.
Work with clients to create an exit strategy. Introverts need time to process and think. Without it, they become frustrated, irritable, and anxious. Help your clients create an exit strategy and plan for down time before they become overwhelmed.
For example, one of my clients jogs daily, even during the holidays. Exercise releases endorphins, releasing stress and putting her in a positive frame of mind. She uses her daily run as time to process and think. Another client cleans the kitchen by herself after a meal, while the others go into another room to talk.
Encourage clients to photograph holiday gatherings and events. Who doesn’t like pictures around the holidays? Encourage clients to photograph holiday gatherings and events. It’s hard to engage in small talk when you’re busy behind the camera. They’ll find, too, that people will give them more space if they have a job to do.
Invite clients to brainstorm ways to cope with overwhelm. Part of what causes clients anxiety is the lack of routine and the general ambiguity of how time is spent around the holidays. Clients will feel more in control and less anxious if together you spend time brainstorming practical ways to successfully navigate challenging people and situations.
The holidays don’t need to be a stressful time for introverts. With just a little planning, you can help your introverted clients experience the joy of the season.
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