Most people think of summer as a time of vacations, rejuvenation and lively fun. As an introvert who works in a family-friendly, guest-based organization, I usually just think OH MY GOD PEOPLE with a look of slightly horrified resignation plastered on my face. Then I take a deep breath, remind myself to follow my own advice (see tips below) and decide I'm going to kick this tourist-filled summer's ass.
1. Talk about it.
What?! A list for introverts that's telling you to seek out human interaction? Tourist season can get really stressful and having a friend to vent to and share stories with can help us feel validated, connected and supported.
2. Take full advantage of your breaks.
This involves actually taking them. If you can, retreat to a quiet, removed environment like a break room or your car. This small corner of peace etched into your day will keep you sane amidst the chaos.
3. Create calming rituals for before and after work.
I don't care what Pinterest says your ritual should be, keep it simple and keep it uniquely you. We're dynamic creatures with varying needs and wants and you know what centers you. And if it's not working for you anymore, change it! Just because it's called a ritual doesn't mean it's inflexible.
4. Say "no" to after-work engagements when you need to.
You know what is really fun? Saying "no" to drinks after work and going home and eating popcorn while watching "Planet Earth II" (yeah, there's a second one!). With the sheer amount of human interaction that you have to deal with during the summer, don't get burnt out by denying yourself the me-time all introverts need and deserve.
5. Laugh about it.
People are ridiculous and you are often witness to their (sometimes horrific) shenanigans. When you can, turn your personal daily horror film into your personal comic relief.
6. Take care of your body.
Tourists can be just as brutal as Florida is and neither one cares if you're overheated, dehydrated and haven't had your lunch break yet. Be smart about keeping the stress on your body to a minimum and be aware of how much you can handle before it starts impacting your health, mood and (ultimately) work.
7. Carry a worry stone.
There's something grounding about having an object to hold when you start to get overwhelmed. For me, it's like having a secret external reserve of calm and patience that I can tap into when I need it.
Breathing techniques are a personal lifeline that I have used for many years in a lot of situations. The ability to take mindful, deep breaths in the middle of a chaotic crowd is simple and powerful self-care.
9. Make up stories about the people you see.
A guest-centric job means prime people-watching. Take notice of and appreciate all the people who aren't giving you shit. And for the people who are, take solace in making up particularly tragic backstories (which may actually help stir up some sympathy for them).
10. Dress comfortably and stylishly.
Most places have a required uniform, but you may have some freedom in the way you wear it. Accessorize and choose the components of your outfit you have control over so that you feel comfortable and confident.
11. Cut down on interactions with people who stress you out.
It'd be nice if we all got along all the time, but alas, we live in reality and our tolerance for people is already stretched thin during the summer months. It may be beneficial to distance yourself from those who bring you down, but be careful you don't start a situation that's going to stress you out even more.
12. Pass on difficult guests when it is appropriate.
A lot of times we want to resolve things independently, but difficult guests are going to be a major drain on our already depleted emotional reserves. If it is appropriate, pass the guest on to someone whose job it is to actually deal with those situations and move on with your day.
13. Plan a vacation.
In those rough moments where you just want to quit on the spot, give yourself something to look forward to. Knowing you have a planned break in the future gives you a light at the end of the long, humid tunnel of summer. Plus, you deserve it.
Orlando is a hot (ha, get it?) destination for vacationers and they're bound to invade many of our workplaces with expectations, questions, attitudes and sometimes consolingly sweet interactions. Stay strong, take care of yourself and have faith that summer will end.