Festive season socializing is back again
As December gets into full swing, in the Northern Hemisphere the urge to stay in and hibernate often grows stronger. At the same time, we navigate a deluge of work, friend and family gatherings. Three years since things were “normal”, socializing is back again. Here I’ll explore why to say yes to social events that energize you.
Navigating social events as an introvert
On the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types test, I personally fall just on the extroverted side of the extrovert-introvert spectrum. Social events can either energize or exhaust me, depending on how much rest I’ve had and the specific event!
If you have introverted tendencies, you likely feel energized by time spent alone, rather than with lots of other people. This can make social event overwhelm in the festive season particularly acute.
Our personal tendency for introversion or extroversion, can actually fluctuate depending on how often we flex our social “muscles”. This could explain the rise in social awkwardness many people felt after pandemic lockdowns. A recent study also found that acting in an extroverted — or more “talkative, assertive, and spontaneous” — way can even boost our happiness.
Positive social events can support our health
Most of us experience positive social relationships as key for our mental well-being. Spending time with inspiring and loving humans is a natural way to relax and have fun; even to become better versions of ourselves.
Science also supports what we intuitively know. An 80-year long Harvard study found that close personal connections are a key marker for life happiness and longevity. Positive relationships encourage oxytocin production, which boosts our immune system. They help us to heal quicker and make us less likely to experience stress, anxiety, and depression.
On the other hand, loneliness (defined by UK mental health charity Mind as “the feeling we get when our need for rewarding social contact and relationships is not met”), can result in reduced brain function, increased stress, cardiovascular…