8 Survival Tips For Card-Carrying Introverts

I'm not shy and I don't hate people ... let me just put that out there. But I am a card-carrying introvert. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Introverts don't have introvert cards ... mostly because that would involve having to take extra steps to talk to extra people. Just no.

Balancing my personal and professional responsibilities -- which often involves what I like to refer to as "peopling" -- with my need for solitude is sometimes a challenge. I enjoy socializing, just in small doses. When I find myself in situations where I have extra social time, I need to balance it with a little extra "me time" or I pretty much go batshit crazy.

Here are a few "introvert approved" pastimes that help me recharge and get ready to join the humans again ... in small does, of course!

1. Read a book

I am not usually early adapter but I've had a Kindle since 2010. I'm on my third one. I read nearly every day and it's by far my favorite way to decompress. I love losing myself in a book and I have a variety of different things that interest me.

2. Craft

Yes, you read that right. While I don't consider myself crafty or creative, I do like simple crafts now and then, especially if I can do them without my small humans crawling all over me wanting to get their mitts on my paints and expensive scrapbook paper. It's also a good way to unplug.

3. Engage in some pampering

I like to go and get a pedicure every now and then. I live in a warm climate and I wear sandals a lot so it's always nice when my toes don't look like they belong to a T-Rex. No one likes that. The spa near my house serves complimentary wine ... I'm pretty sure it comes from a box but I overlook it. I take a book or indulge in some guilt free candy crushing without feeling bad that I'm ignoring my husband and kids.

4. Go for a drive

I spend a lot of time in the car, running my kids from here to there or waiting on my kids to get done with some sort of activity. That's not really that fun or relaxing. Neither is listening to their bickering or complaining that the 10-minute ride from the grocery store to our house is "taking too long."

On my way home from an errand one night I drove around our neighborhood ... mostly because I wasn't ready to give up my little slice of me time and succumb to the noise that is my house. Driving with no particular purpose in mind was actually very relaxing ... and sort of productive. I found a couple of new shortcuts and got some great ideas for landscaping. Winning.

5. Indulge

I hate the phrase "guilty pleasure" because I don't think you should be guilty about enjoying what you enjoy. Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself. My favorite indulgence is Starbucks. I don't get it that often because it's so freaking expensive but LOVE me a venti nonfat iced shaken caramel machiatto with an extra shot ... although I'm slightly worried that I sound super high maintenance when I order it.

6. Exercise

I am not much of a sports person ... mostly because I'm super uncoordinated and afraid of the ball in most any sport there is ... but I enjoy walking and running and occasionally, hitting the weights. I like running because it's something I can do almost anywhere at any time and because I can be alone with my thoughts. I occasionally run with my husband and while it's nice that we can enjoy doing something healthy together, he usually screws things up by trying to talk to me. Grrr.

7. Journal

A lot of writers are introverts. Spilling out words onto paper or typing them on a computer screen are easier -- and sometimes more preferable -- to human interactions. Journaling is therapeutic and probably means different things to different people: writing down the basics of your day, listing your goals, thoughts, dreams or stuff that frustrating you. Journaling is also a nice, quiet centering activity that can help an introvert unwind or decompress.

8. Plan

It's always good to make sure you build your downtime into your schedule. If you're going to have a week jam packed with "peopling" or heavy social commitments, make sure you schedule some time to unplug, decompress and recharge. Like most introverts, I find my alone time or quiet time to be energizing after I've spent a lot of time with other humans.

I like peopling ... on my terms. If I know a weekend conference that is jam packed with social interaction will be rewarded with a quiet Monday where I can kick back and commune with the voices in my head then I'm in a much better space to enjoy being social when I get the opportunity.

As an introvert, people make me tired. I talked to an extroverted friend recently who told me being around a lot of people energized and motivated her. Uh ... no. We're all different and I think knowing ourselves is the key to being happy ... but these are good tips for just about anyone. Regardless of what kind of "vert" you are, everyone needs their downtime in some way, shape or form.

Jill Robbins is a published author and award-winning writer, speaker and wine snob. She writes regularly on her blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals. You can keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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