In a society that caters to extroverts, it’s up to us introverts to cultivate rituals in our lives that safeguard our spirit.
If you’re an introvert, you are probably all too familiar with the drain of daily life. Work meetings feel like they suck the functionality right out of you; just the thought makes you tired. Your kids, as wonderful as they may be, can find your very last nerve faster than anyone, and they don’t hesitate to jump right on it like a bouncy house at a birthday party. (Speaking of energy sucks — kids’ birthday parties are the worst, am I right?) Even the 30 seconds of small talk you make with the cashier as you stop for last-minute dinner groceries on the way home can feel like it takes every last ounce of energy you have left.
As introverts, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is find ways to protect — and increase — our energy. We live in a society that caters to extroverts, so it’s up to us to cultivate routines and rituals in our lives that create a sort of barrier to safeguard our spirit. I mean, even Wonder Woman has a shield, right?
Be Able to Spot the ‘Energy Vampires’
An important aspect of learning to protect our energy reserves is to identify those things or people who drain us. Sarah DiGiulio at NBC News did a great interview with Judith Orloff, MD, who says that, “An energy vampire is somebody who literally zaps your energy dry.” If we’re honest with ourselves, it probably doesn’t take much to identify who those people are in our lives — whether it’s the overly chatty coworker or your always-in-crisis friend who needs to dump all their latest drama on you in a 3 a.m. phone call.
Energy vampires aren’t always people, either. They can show up in the form of activities and things on our to-do list. Anything that takes more energy than it gives, things that have very little return on investment, can be an energy vampire. Take note of how you feel after doing certain things throughout the day — or even what your reactions are to seeing specific items show up on your agenda for the day. If seeing the “Drop off FedEx packages” reminder pop-up on your Google Calendar sends you into a full-blown panic, pay attention to that and maybe investigate why it elicits that type of response. (Maybe it’s the overly judgy receptionist, Cindy, who always gives you dirty looks when you bring in more than two boxes at a time.)
The Secret to Guarding Your Energy as an Introvert
You’ve identified the people and things that suck the fun-loving, quiet-book-reading life out of you — and you’re ready to cut them out of your life for good. The only problem is, you can’t exactly cut your boss, mother-in-law, and third child out of your life. So what do you do instead? Glad you asked!
Cultivating daily rituals is the secret sauce of guarding against energy suck(s) and finally living your best introvert life. The idea is to find things that actually give you energy and restore those reserves — then find ways to incorporate them into your life every day. Not all introverts are the same (duh), so what works for me might not work for you, and vice-versa. Below are five daily rituals that most introverts will find effective. Try them out and see what works for you — and adjust as needed!
5 Daily Rituals Introverts Need to Protect Their Energy
1. Have check-ins with yourself.
The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to know what our “ground zero” is, so to speak. Basically, you need to know where you are in order to determine what you need to get to where you want to be. Create a habit of evaluating your energy levels throughout the day. Then you will be able to react accordingly to feel better.
For example, I try to check in with myself a few times a day — usually first thing in the morning, in the afternoon, and maybe one or two times before bed. This is just five minutes or less to take a deep breath and consider how I feel, what my energy level is, etc. Maybe I’m feeling anxious and I need to take a walk to burn it off. Or maybe I’m feeling sluggish and realize I haven’t drank any water since I woke up.
Daily check-ins don’t have to take very long — just enough time to determine how you feel and what you need in that moment to feel better, more energized, and to keep going with your day.
Bonus tip: Try keeping a journal of your daily check-ins. This can give you great insight into common times you feel low and what activities have helped you feel better.
2. Move — take a walk, stretch, or have a private dance party.
Movement helps you get out of your overthinking head and into your body – plus, it gives you a boost of energy. You don’t need to join an expensive gym or sign up for the latest Summer Bod Boot Camp. (Phew! Dramatically waves hand over forehead in relief.) Remember, these are simple daily rituals meant to protect and increase your energy, not beat you down into submission. Think morning walk around the block, a noon-time stretch, or an end-of-work dance party in your car (onlookers be damned!).
We introverts expend a great deal of energy within our own minds. Don’t let yourself be an energy vampire! Make a regular habit of movement that allows you to shake it off and come back feeling refreshed.
Join the introvert revolution. One email, every Friday. The best introvert articles. Subscribe here.
3. Carve out moments of alone time (even in just five-minute increments).
And all the introverts shouted a collective “Amen!” at the thought of alone time! While this might seem like it’s too obvious to even be included on this list, it is — unfortunately — one that most of us neglect to make a part of our daily lives. We push it off until the weekend (or some other day when we have more time). But I probably don’t need to remind you of how important it is to an introvert’s well-being that they are able to get some breathing room on a regular basis — especially if you live with a partner/roommate/family member(s) and/or have kids!
One way to make this happen is to adjust your expectations. We can’t all get three hours of uninterrupted quiet time every day (swoon!), but we can squeeze it in here and there. The key is being intentional about looking for opportunities and learning to use them well.
Think about it: the five minutes at your desk before co-workers arrive, the moment both kids are shoveling snacks into their mouths and you know there’s about two-and-a-half minutes before they ask for more, the 10 minutes it takes your barista to hand-craft your extra hot, skinny, triple-shot Caramel Macchiato with extra caramel, or the 15 minutes it takes your husband to go back into the house for “one more thing” before finally being ready to go.
Be on the lookout for those moments of downtime and squeeze every life-giving, energy-returning, deep-breath-taking ounce out of them that you can. Whether you meditate, step outside for a few minutes, or just sit in silence, it might not seem like much, but each of these small energy boosts add up throughout the day.
4. Talk to someone, whether it’s texting a friend or calling a relative.
No, we’re not referring to therapy here (although that’s not a bad idea — and if you think it will help, you should definitely give that a try)… but we’re also not referring to small talk with your barber. This is about engaging in meaningful conversation — with a significant other, friend, or family member (preferably someone who doesn’t qualify as an energy vampire). We expend a great deal of energy in small talk throughout the day, which is inherently draining for introverts. But a deep, meaningful connection with another human being — who is willing to hold that space for us — can actually be quite energizing.
Try having a chat with your partner after work, calling a family member on your commute, or even texting a friend. You know that person who just makes you feel so good after spending time with them? Whether it was a quick check-in or two hours of talking over martinis, you always walk away with a smile on your face and tons more energy than before you saw them. Be intentional about connecting with someone like that each day. (Though two hours over martinis every day might be a bit much, so maybe work on boundaries, too. Just an extra pro tip.)
5. Get creative — cook, color, or write to boost your energy and mood.
Research shows that creativity can boost your mood and even improve your overall well-being. It is also a healthy way to process life (or just a rough day). Don’t worry: you don’t have to be the next Picasso or try to list your arts and crafts on Etsy. In fact, the more low-pressure you make the creative activity, the better.
If you’re an introverted parent, get out the crayons and color with your kids — or get yourself an adult coloring book. Maybe you love to cook, write, or make things with your hands. Whatever it is, give yourself creative space and allow yourself the freedom and time for it at least a little bit each day. (I see you doodling on your notebook in the back of the finance meeting — that counts!)
Plan Ahead and Keep Your Rituals Sacred
A big part of successfully cultivating daily rituals is to plan ahead and take it seriously. Be intentional with which rituals you want to make a part of your day and consider when you want to insert them into your schedule. Tip: Add them into your calendar, if possible.
Take some time the night before to mentally prepare for the next day and visualize yourself using these rituals and feeling more energized throughout your day. Try to integrate just one ritual at a time, adding more as you can, and experimenting with what works best for you.
Remember, it’s all about protecting and boosting your energy, so customize it to your lifestyle and circumstances, and always be willing to adjust as you go.
Introverts, what would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments below!
You might like:
- Why Ritual May Be an Introvert’s Most Important Form of Self-Care
- 4 Meditation Tips for Introverts Who Struggle to Focus
- Why Introverts Should Date Themselves (Even If They’re in a Relationship)
We participate in the Amazon affiliate program.