6 Tips to Help Introverts ThriveStay true to your own nature. If you like to do things in a slow and steady way, don’t let others make you feel as if you have to race. If you enjoy depth, don’t force yourself to seek breadth. ~Susan Cain
I’ve been an introvert my whole life — but until recently, I was working against my brain.
That is, I was trying to force myself to be social when I was mentally exhausted, to work in conditions an extrovert would thrive in, to not allow myself some sweet alone time that all introverts love every now and then. No wonder I was always tired!
Here’s the thing: It’s OK to be introverted, just like it’s OK to be extroverted.
Unfortunately, it’s an extroverted world at first glance, and many introverts try to fit themselves into an extrovert’s life, not realizing that they would be so much happier if they simply went with the flow of their body and brain, living a more quiet life.
Here are six tips that I’ve learned as an introvert that have vastly increased my happiness, productivity and overall peace of mind.
1. Make Your Job Suit Your Needs
I currently have the dream introvert job: working by myself at home. It allows me the entire day to recharge and work in the best conditions for me.
If you’re an introvert, you’re likely not anything like a door-to-door salesman. If you are, all the power to you — that sounds like a nightmare to me and to many other introverts I know.
Why? Not because we don’t like people. However, we prefer only having to deal with strangers when we have to, and in a way we’re comfortable with and prepared for. Generally, that does not include standing on their doorstep without their notice and convincing them to buy something.
If you have a job in an office, don’t let your office become like that — that is, don’t leave your door wide open for people to walk in without you being prepared and bombard you with questions.
Leave your door closed so you can have your alone time when you work. Try even asking your employer if there’s a way you can work a little from home, because you can’t concentrate as well in the office space.
And if none of this is possible for you, allow yourself a bit of time to go on brief solitary breaks to recharge.
2. Tell People You Live With
If you live with others — such as family or roommates — who seem to be more extroverted, communicate. Tell them that sometimes, you just need some alone time, and it’s not personal.
Assure them that after you get that bit of quiet time, you will be cheery as ever, and you’ll be able to spend time with them. They love you, and they’ll understand.
3. Ask Your Friends to Plan
My best friends generally know that if they ask me to hang out last minute — say, an hour beforehand — it overwhelms me. Often, I need time to mentally plan and prepare for that.
If your friends tend to do that frequently, explain to them your issue. Tell them that it’s not them, it’s you — for real!
And remember — it’s OK to say no to plans. You don’t have to give a reason. It can simply because you feel exhausted, and you need to recharge with a bit of Netflix or a nice book by yourself.
4. Give Yourself a Nest
If you don’t have a room where you can just go have some time for you, you don’t have an opportunity to recharge.
You should have a room that’s closed off (with a door … don’t pull out your hammer and nails) that allows you to relax and escape when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
My nest is my bedroom. I’ve got myself a nice big beanbag chair, my yoga supplies, my TV and a whole ton of books. When I’m feeling social overload creep up on me, I go up there and close the door. It’s probably the most relaxing place in the world for me.
5. Save Challenging Tasks For When You’re Alone
Don’t try to do the rocket-science-esque tasks when you’re surrounded by people. Get to know your brain and discover exactly what conditions are best for you if you want to be productive.
For introverts, that often means being alone, or only with those that they feel absolutely closest to.
6. Treasure Your Mornings
This may not work for everyone, but it works wonders for me. After a good night’s sleep, I feel refreshed — and not only because of the sleep. I’ve been in my head, with no social interaction, for eight hours. I might not have been awake during that time, but in some ways, it still counts.
Everyone I’ve ever lived with knows that as soon as I wake up, I need at least half an hour of quiet, during which I sit with my tea, either thinking or writing. During that time, they barely talk to me — and they don’t feel rejected, because they know that it’s just who I am, and I will soon be happy and chatty like normal.
Treasure your mornings. It’s a great time to be alone, to reflect, or to do your best work.
Being an introvert is no worse or better than being an extrovert. They’re just different personality types. By embracing your inner introvert, you’ll go with the flow of your body and mind, rather than totally wearing yourself out. Give yourself time to recharge and enjoy a quiet life, introverts. You deserve it!