Even if you love your family, tinsel and eggnog-centric cocktails, the holiday party circuit can be straight-up torture. Especially if you’re an introvert. Especially if you’re an introvert without a game plan.

Fear not. Loud music and uncomfortable forced chitchat with your coworker’s husband needn’t prevent you from surviving these challenging times. It just takes a little pre- and post-party strategizing.

Yoga

First, Some Self-Care

Whether it’s a day-of yoga class or a pampering mani or a Stuart Smalley-approved pep-talk in the mirror, a small act of kindness toward yourself sets a good precedent for calm, contented success.

Allies

Know Who’s Going Before You Go

You prefer one-on-one interaction to feeling like you have to entertain a crowd. Find out beforehand: Do I have any social allies attending? And can I count on him/her for some conversational security?

Shoes

Wear Comfortable Shoes

If your tootsies are having anxiety in painful stilettos, your brain will likely follow suit. Comfortable body, peaceful mind.

Drunk

Booze Wisely

A glass or two takes the social edge off, but too much and you’re forced out of your comfort and control zone. Avoid the social hangover (and the real one) by knowing your limit.

kristenwig

Figure Out What to Do With Your Hands

When the Instagramming starts, you’ll be grateful you don’t look as awkward as you feel.

RELATED: Exactly What to Do with Your Hands in Photos

SmallTalk

Manage the Small Talk

When meeting someone new, keep it to three mundane questions (“How do you know the host? What do you do? Do you live near here?”), then throw in a real wild card (“What’s the one thing you’re really looking forward to in the new year?”). The honesty helps make you appear self-assured, and also more memorable.

buster

Have an Exit Strategy

It’s OK to bow out early. Find the hostess, give a gracious thank-you and peace out. No need to say goodbye to everyone, either.

BridetJones

Or Just Say No in the First Place, Dammit

You’re a grown-ass woman. Permission to say, “Thanks for the invite! Looks like I won’t be able to make it” and veg out in flannel jammies instead. You do you.

treatyoself

And Finally, Some More Self-Care

Post-party, revisit the thing(s) that bring you back to sanity and do them. Treat your You Time like you do any other social event: Put it in your calendar. 

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