The secret to introverts getting more energy? Taking a break (or several) from the world at large. Here’s how.
As we are all well aware, introverts restore their energy with alone time. The most common question on surveys that delineate the difference between extroverts and introverts is: What would you prefer to do on a Friday evening after the work week, go out with a group of friends or stay in and do your preferred activity?
If you’re an introvert, you check the latter choice. You need a break from the world to revamp your energy. This article will look at a few ways that you can make the most of that restorative alone time, whether it’s just sneaking it into your busy lifestyle for a few minutes or taking longer breaks from your daily responsibilities.
Moments for Alone Time Constantly Change Year-To-Year
The time you have for “me time” breaks can fluctuate over the course of your lifetime.
As a young woman, before I had children and the responsibilities of a career, I was able to take a year off from college after my mom passed away, and I spent 10 days at a silent meditation retreat in Thailand. It helped me deal with grieving, find calm in my internal storm, and gain strategies for understanding my mind and healing my heart.
When I had my own children many years later, I had to get more creative with finding alone time — I only had moments to sneak in short walks and little breaks between work and home life.
Now that my adult children are living on their own, I’ve had the privilege of being able to take a sabbatical from my job as an elementary school teacher with a year off. I paid for this time off myself by spreading my salary from previous years into savings for this year. With this time off, I’ve had a chance to explore how to get the most out of a break from my regular routines and responsibilities. We introverts thrive on routines, so it’s been an adjustment period, for sure.
Whether you have just a few minutes in your day, or an extended period of time to rejuvenate, here are some strategies that you can try in order to recharge your energy and get the most out of your breaks.
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6 Ways for Introverts to Get More Energy
1. Get enough rest — make sure you’re getting the amount of sleep you require.
If you have an extended break, try to reset your circadian rhythms (your internal body clock) so you’re getting the right amount of sleep for you. If you can sneak in a power nap during the day, that is a good way to give your mind and body the rest you are likely looking for. This can also help us calm our overthinking introvert brains.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults 18 and older need at least seven hours of sleep per night. It’s also best to practice good sleep hygiene, going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning.
Here are some additional tips on how to sleep better as an introvert.
2. Switch your focus by getting out in nature or trying a new hobby.
On your break, do something completely different from work. After all, if you’re thinking about work, or bringing work with you, is it really time off?
Yes, I know, sometimes it’s difficult to stop our brain from ruminating about work. If you can’t seem to stop, why not try taking a long walk in nature or listening to music or podcasts (completely unrelated to work topics, of course)?
You can also try a random hobby, like something novel that requires all of your attention. This past year, for instance, I tried horseback riding for the first time, and it demanded my complete concentration, focus, and wholeheartedness.
The mind of an introvert is constantly (over)thinking, and sometimes we need a break from this cycle of rumination. Short and intentional mindfulness moments throughout the day can support a level of self-compassion and awareness that feels like a longer break.
3. Make your health — and mental health — a priority.
Introverts are often highly sensitive people, too, especially in relationships and professions that require giving our care and energy to others. Taking a break means resetting your priorities to place your own health — both physical and mental — at the top of your list.
Get back into an exercise routine that works for you, eat right, and find a social outlet that helps you feel meaningfully connected. Although you may want to stay curled up in bed, some exercise will do wonders for your physical and emotional health. Research, too, has found a strong link between exercise boosting your mood and reducing anxiety and depression.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
4. Reevaluate your boundaries (which can be hard for introverts to enact and uphold).
Taking a break is a good time to reevaluate your boundaries. Boundaries are the “rules” you make for yourself so you can contribute positively to the responsibilities you have with the people and situations in your life.
In a culture that rewards extroverted behavior, boundary-setting might not come easily for introverts, but it’s a skill like any other — it can be learned and you can get better at it with practice. While setting boundaries for break times might not be something introverts are used to asking for, and following through with, it will make you happier. Try it and you’ll see! (Here are some tips on how to set boundaries when you’re a peace-loving introvert.)
5. Revel in the creativity that arises during your moments alone.
Once you have had time to apply some of the above strategies, you may notice a surge in creative energy. Cherish that ember. It means your alone-time breaks are working!
That spark of creative energy could lead to new ideas and directions, or provide you with a sense of hope, optimism, and self-love.
Whatever the case may be, there’s something to be said for introverts having “creative space” to just be and see what they come up with during periods of downtime.
6. Swap out energy-sucking habits for reenergizing ones.
Spending our time looking after others in our personal and professional lives — and neglecting to take care of ourselves — can result in burnout. Creating a habit of putting little breaks into your daily schedule, and planning for larger breaks every once in a while, can help you maintain your overall health and wellbeing.
Sometimes, people feel guilty about creating these habits of so-called self-care. But remember: Your health is your biggest asset; without it, you can’t move toward other goals or care for others, so it’s worth prioritizing.
One way to make time in your life for daily breaks is to swap out an energy-sucking habit for one of the above reenergizing ones. For example, rather than doomscrolling on the couch, listen to your favorite podcast while going for a walk. Instead of stress-eating when you’re exhausted at the end of the work day, put your feet up for 15 minutes and have a power nap. Chances are, you will feel better afterwards.
Research has found that habits are easier to change when the reward from the good habit outweighs the reward from the bad one. Try some of the above strategies for creating, and setting, healthy habits in order to get the most out of your breaks. Trust me, your introvert battery level will thank you!
Introverts, what are some ways you recharge and get more energy? I’d love to hear in the comments!
You might like:
- Battery Life: How to Socialize and Recharge as an Introvert
- 9 Ways to Set Boundaries as an Introvert
- Why Do Introverts Love Being Alone? Here’s the Science
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