If you’re familiar with the concept of introversion as an energetic characteristic, and not just a personality characteristic, you know it’s not about being shy or disliking people. It’s simply about how your energy levels responds to interaction.
Defined this way, you’re an introvert if you feel drained when you interact, and you recharge when you’re alone. That’s a simple definition. But there’s a problem if you try to use it as-is to figure out what will best recharge you personally.
Not All Downtime is Alike
Using the description above as a be-all, end-all definition of introversion involves two assumptions:
- All “alone-time” is alike, so as long as you’re away from other people, your batteries will automatically refuel.
- All introverts are alike and recharge in the same way.
In reality, anyone who has ever sat up alone until 1 a.m. trying to meet a deadline can tell you that not all alone time is equally recharging. Plus, introversion is just one aspect of the complex tapestry that makes up your psyche.
The result? Something that’s pleasantly re-energizing for one person can be frustratingly boring for someone else. So how do you pick the right recharging strategy for you?
9 Recharging Techniques for Introverts
Sometimes, you just know what replenishes your energy. While everyone is different, there are some activities that introverts tend to default to – sometimes without consciously realizing they’re recharging themselves. Some of the most common include:
1. Meditating: Both breath-focused meditation and guided visualizations work wonders for energy-depleted introverts. Either option lets you step back from the demands of the world and offers you a chance to simply “be.”
2. Music: Plugging in your headphones and pushing “play” on your favorite tunes can help bring your energy level back to full. Plus, music is one of the most powerful non-chemical tools for managing your mood and state of mind.
3. Journaling: Many introverts describe spending time with their journals – exploring their thoughts and reflecting on life, the universe and everything – as a lifeline when they’re feeling drained.
4. Walking or other solo exercise: Other introverts list going for a walk in nature as a favorite go-to technique when they’re “peopled out.” Not only does walking give you time alone, but moving your body can help clear any lingering stress hormones from your bloodstream.
5. Meditative exercise: Even done in group classes, meditative exercise forms like T’ai Ch’i, Yoga or Qi Gong often combine the re-energizing benefits of both meditation and movement.
6. Taking a bath: Something about being able to sink back into hot, scented water and soak is the ultimate in luxurious recharging for sensual introverts.
7. Art or craftwork: More right-brained introverts often find that some type of art or craft helps them unwind, recharge, and reconnect with their sanity. Options include painting, drawing, sculpture, needlework, making jewelry, scrapbooking, and cake-decorating.
8. Reading: One of the most common introvert recharging techniques, this is my own personal go-to strategy. Sometimes I’ll reach for non-fiction. Other times, I just want to lose myself in a story. Either way, there’s no right or wrong. The key is that I enjoy it.
9. Computer games: Computer games can be the perfect recharger for some folks. You’ll probably find that some kinds of games are better than others. Just be aware of what works for you.
What if You’re Not Sure What Recharges You?
When you scan the list above, you might have some pretty strong reactions to some of the items. Some might prompt a definite, “Yes! I love that and it always makes me feel better.” Others might trigger a, “Nuh-uh. Not even if you paid me!”
Sometimes, though, you’ll want to try something new — something you aren’t sure will work for you. If that’s the case for you, I recommend a technique called energy tracking. This involves trying various techniques, and mindfully observing your energy reactions. Note where your energy level is before and after, and keep an eye out for any patterns.
For a simple tool to help with this, try this free (no opt-in required) two-week energy tracker. It’s available in two formats:
Energy Tracker – Letter format (if you’re in the US), or
Energy Tracker – A4 format (if you’re anywhere else)
Over to You!
Which of the techniques above work best as rechargers for you? Which don’t work at all?
What questions do you have about replenishing your own energy?
Let me know in the comments below!
Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Susan Cain
Image Credit: Deviant Art