We introverts are a curious bunch, no?
Who else needs solace to the degree of borderline isolation, at times?
People, as a general rule, are pretty unavoidable. And when we (introverts) have been with others for long periods of time, it can begin to take a toll on our energy.
My daughter had a friend spend 3 nights with us this week. This friend is a lovely girl with a happy-go-lucky attitude and is never a bit of trouble to host in our home. I enjoy her. Reagan enjoys her.
After I dropped her off at home Wednesday morning, I had errands to run all over south Mississippi for work, so Reagan was my co-pilot. And she put in her earbuds and didn’t speak until we stopped for a late lunch about 3 hours later.
After lunch, it was more of the same, and when we arrived home, she took a long bath, dried her long mane, and then fell asleep on the couch at 6:45 p.m.
I shook her gently about 7:30 and prompted her to just go on to bed.
Like a weary toddler exhausted from too much play, she didn’t protest. I tucked her in like I did when she was small and she was out like a light as soon as I left the room.
Self-care is a hard thing to learn in a society as constantly “connected” as we have become. It takes discipline and sometimes means that borderline isolation to which I previously referred.
Not forever. Not even for long stretches of time. But some time. Specifically carved out moments of quiet and solitude.
When I don’t take those moments, my anxiety (and sometimes even my depression) begin to manifest in frustration, irritation, and fatigue.
I was almost 30 years old before I realized what an introvert truly was, and that I, in fact, could be characterized as such.
I had confused the necessity that my jobs had required of me to be constantly engaged with others with my very personality. In fact, it was simply me facilitating the requirements of my professions. And it took a toll on me, many times, mentally, emotionally and physically, without me ever realizing what I could do to help myself.
These days, I’m not above taking a “mental health” day off. My body may not be sick, but it will be if I don’t first care for my mind. And soul.
My anxiety propels me to be constantly busy. I’ve had to learn how to stop. To say “no” – even if it means hurting feelings. And to make sure I have moments of quiet and uninterrupted time of not engaging with others.
It’s one of the reasons I left Facebook behind, for good. And why I get up an hour before anyone else in my house and try to spend at least an hour alone before going to sleep at night. These have become the necessities of my own introverted self-care, and I guard them jealously.
Time in nature has always rejuvenated me, but, with a heat index of 109 for the next 3 days, and a busy and exhausting career, there are always things that seem to prevent me from getting that time in Mother Nature’s care.
It can be tricky to navigate the introvert personality, because it would be incredibly easy to cross over into that world of isolation and make an extended stay of it. But that isn’t healthy. And so, as life always has a way of doing, it all comes back to balance. The ever-elusive unicorn that I occasionally glimpse, even touch, but never fully harness.
I am learning, more with each passing day, how to best care for myself, and my introverted offspring. But it’s not an exact science, because it’s as different as each individual that bears the markings of this trait.
If you are a fellow introvert, I’d love to hear about your methods of self-care, and how you navigate a world that constantly seeks our attention.
We must stick together, of course.
Separately. But together. 😉