I love people, kind of. I enjoy being social, occasionally. But people also really, really stress me out. To the casual observer, I'm probably perceived as somewhat of an extrovert, mainly because I can hold a conversation (never mind how many hundreds of times I go over that conversation in my head afterward), and because I am pretty talkative.
Because of this, it sometimes comes as a surprise to the people around me when I turn down an invitation to an event or even to a quiet cup of coffee when I physically cannot be around them anymore. This is no fault of their own; I'm just a true introvert at heart, and when my mental battery is drained, I can't find the energy to interact with people until I've done something to recharge it again. I love all things Myers & Briggs, and I recently came across a Quora thread with tips from introverts on different ways to "recharge" themselves. If you're a hardcore introvert like me, these tips may really help you figure out ways to make the most of your happiness — both socially and personally. Here's what you can do to get some of your energy back when other humans suck it out of you.
1. Recharge via output.
Whether it be photography, crafting, cooking, knitting, painting, gardening, or even coloring, introverts can benefit greatly by creating something. By testing their own abilities and patience and by having something — big or small — to show for it at the end, we enjoy a sense of accomplishment. "When I actually finish a task that I had set to myself and that was creating backlog, something that I had to do alone . . . I feel recharged," said Quora user Sagorika Sinha. "These are crafts that are actually really simple to make but that take a lot of time that I can spend alone. I have patience. The fact that they turn out pretty (sometimes I have no idea of what the result will be) it feels like a real victory over something."
2. Shop alone.
It may seem counterintuitive to send an introvert out into the wild (aka to a store or the mall), but it's not necessarily people in general introverts need a break from, but interactions with people that require a lot of effort. Sometimes getting in the zone at the grocery store or mall can allow introverts to check things off their list and feel accomplished — but these trips are usually better when done during off-hours and with headphones in.
3. Socialize in a small group.
"It's not always that we need silence to recharge ourselves. Sometimes we do so by socializing with others, and in such cases the group is either two or three people," said Quora user Wasio Abbasi. "It's mostly trusted friends with whom we can be ourselves and not sit awkwardly, have a good and meaningful discussion. We can even spend hours talking in such a group. But increase the number of people and we are done for. Too many people to listen and talk to, and energy goes down real fast."
4. Take a long drive.
I don't think there's anything that helps me recharge more than a long drive alone. Introverts are able to literally distance themselves from people and feel comfortable in their own controlled environment while experiencing the freedom of mobility that driving (especially down long, open roads) provides.
5. Avoid any contact with people.
Sometimes introverts really, truly need to be by themselves. "Imagine it like this," said Quora user Wasio Abbasi. "The more we have to speak and/or hear others speaking, the more tired we become. The more tired we get, the more silent we become (which was a lot to begin with). When there is no contact with anyone, and this sometimes include SMS/web chats too, we feel relaxed. It's like our being is at harmony again. The world feels right, the time feels right, everything feels right, and we stay in that bliss until we feel rejuvenated enough to interact with the world again." Couldn't have put it better myself.
6. Read or write.
There is no better escape for an introvert than through a good book. We are able to get inside our own heads, or better yet, inside another world completely. In these worlds, real or not, introverts can retreat into themselves — a place they are typically the most comfortable — and gain energy from within. Similarly, writing is a way escape and to express our thoughts and feelings in a productive way without having to verbalize anything at all.
7. Enjoy self-entertainment.
Being an introvert is kind of like being your own little one-person party. Which is actually pretty awesome, because we have no problem enjoying ourselves doing countless activities alone. The most important thing to understand about an introvert is that being alone does not equal being lonely.
8. Try single-person exercise.
Take up yoga, Pilates, dance, or any type of activity that is both good for your body and good for your inner introvert. Meditation is not necessarily a workout per se, but it's another way for us to regroup within ourselves and can be just as beneficial health-wise as other single-person exercise.
9. Listen to music.
One of the easiest ways to recharge, even if you are surrounded by people, is by listening to music. It can be done anywhere and it's a way to shut out all of the external factors that tend to stress out introverts. Commuting, shopping, exercising, traveling are all things I simply don't enjoy unless I have my headphones in; introverts can use this time to recharge while giving off a not-so-subtle signal to other people that they want to be left alone. Just hope they take the hint!
10. Clean the house.
To be completely honest, cleaning the house is one of the most effective ways for me to completely recharge myself. There is something so rejuvenating about being alone and having free reign over your home — one of the most cherished spaces for an introvert. I love to turn on music, light some candles, and get completely lost in cleaning the house from top to bottom. It can take hours, but afterward I am not only recharged, but I have a spotless house to show for it. It's a win-win.
11. Be alone with your thoughts.
"Sometimes I am literally just sitting down and taking the weight off my feet while the same thing is metaphorically going on in my brain," said Quora user Michael Peacock. "It might mean taking an hour or longer to take off my shoes and socks at the end of the day because I'm too busy thinking . . . stuff. And then on the other end; when I'm putting my socks on and getting ready to public; I'm rehearsing in my mind the people I will or might see and the kinds of conversations I will be expected to have with them. Sometimes that takes inordinately long, too."
Being alone in this case means potentially even avoiding TV and definitely social media, which can both add to internal clutter that wears us out. Sometimes (well, often, actually) we just need a mental break so that we can come back with a fresh perspective and the energy we need to interact with people again. It's just how we work!