One of the biggest things that introverts will have to manage and master on their life’s journey is overwhelm. Overwhelm can literally shut us down emotionally and stop us from functioning properly. This is where self-care comes in. Self-care is absolutely vital for us “quiet ones” if we are going to fulfill our potential and live truly happy and healthy lives. Without it, we won’t survive in this noisy, extroverted world.
So what is self-care? According to Oxford dictionaries, self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Two of the most crucial words in this definition are “practice” and “active,” because they imply that self-care is something that we have to do intentionally — over and over again — in order to protect our health and well-being. It’s not something that we do once and then forget about or allow to fall by the wayside. It’s something we have to do consistently so that we can fully function at our best.
Self-care is important for anyone, but for us introverts, it’s even more important. Why? We quickly get drained by socializing, and we require plenty of alone time to maintain our energy. Here are five reasons why it’s so important for us introverts.
Why Self-Care Is So Important for Introverts
1. We get to know ourselves better — and get our needs met.
As we take better care of ourselves and learn to spend more time doing what makes us happy, we create a stronger relationship with ourselves. We discover what our true needs and desires are, and subsequently, we are better equipped to get them met. The most important relationship that we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. Connecting to our inner self requires work and a continuous investment of our time and energy. Emotional check ins and personal dates with ourselves create room for self-discovery.
We will always be busy… doing something. There will always be a circumstance that gets our attention that we need to figure out. That’s what it means to be a human on this planet.
But it’s also perfectly okay to take some time out of our busy lives and do some self-care. In fact, it should become a part of our daily regime. When was the last time you took yourself out on a date? No, not the romantic kind that you see in movies — I’m talking about one hour (or more) to yourself. A quiet space where you completely switch off and have time to recharge.
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If it’s proving to be a struggle to remember when you last had this sacred time for yourself, maybe this is the week to schedule it?
2. It’s our anchor in tough times.
The practice of self-care is like having an anchor in our lives, something to keep us steady and grounded in an overstimulating world. When life challenges us (as it inevitably does), self-care gives us something stable to rely on in those tough times.
It’s always helpful to have some tools in our back pocket for when we need them the most. This could be practicing yoga, journaling, or Tapping (EFT). Tapping is a powerful technique that combines Chinese acupressure with modern psychology. It involves tapping on certain meridian endpoints on the body while speaking or thinking about the issue that is causing you distress. This healing process helps relieve anxiety and dissolves emotional blocks that are stuck in your body.
Sometimes, a few simple tweaks to your everyday life will make a world of difference. This could range from going outside for your lunch break (away from the work environment) instead of staying in, going to bed on time, or having a basic yet consistent exercise routine. It might mean getting up an hour before your spouse and kids to have the house to yourself (here’s how you can start waking up earlier even if you’re not a morning person).
Self-care has the power to create a positive chain reaction in all areas of our lives. As you do more of it, you will find that you have more time and energy to do the things that really matter to you. For introverts, this might mean finally writing that book, studying for a course, traveling, starting a business, or rekindling a passion that’s been on the backburner for a while. No matter what you use your extra energy for, self-care could be the launching pad towards the future you’ve always wanted.
3. It’s the first step toward creating healthy boundaries with others.
Megan LeBoutillier wrote a book that I’d highly recommend called No Is a Complete Sentence. This fabulous two-letter word (that I love using now) doesn’t require any explanation because it’s a clear and powerful statement. When you say yes to something, you don’t usually reel off all the reasons why you want to do it. Yes is enough. So why is no any different?
A vital piece of self-care is using the word no regularly and unapologetically. It’s actually quite fun when it becomes your new norm to say no and not feel an ounce of guilt. It’s very empowering to express your needs and your standards by saying no — but it does take practice. There’s a freedom in becoming choosy about when you do say yes, which is the first step toward creating healthy boundaries with others. When we respectfully decline other people’s offers or invitations to keep our self-care requirements at the forefront, we show others that our mental and emotional health is essential for us.
Phil McGraw (also known as Dr. Phil) puts it perfectly when he says, “We teach people how to treat us.” Boundaries are key to having healthy relationships, and if someone doesn’t respect your no, then arguably they may not be a healthy person to be around. Boundaries always start with you first. (Here are some tips to say no effectively.)
4. It puts us in the driver’s seat.
One thing that most introverts hate are surprises. Nothing creates more anxiety for us than the unexpected. This can occur when a friend or family member comes to our home (a.k.a. our sanctuary) unannounced or unexpected. Or when a work colleague or partner asks for a favor while we’re in the middle of something. Spontaneous scenarios can make us feel uneasy and sometimes backed into a corner because it requires our immediate attention.
That’s where self-care comes in. Self-care can mean saying, “Let me get back to you about that,” or “I haven’t decided yet,” or quite simply, “Now isn’t a good time.” This gives us the space we need as introverts to ponder and process how we really feel before we commit to doing anything. It gives us the opportunity to interact with people in an open and honest way while giving ourselves the freedom to be ourselves.
5. We get to spend time doing something that we love.
For introverts, ample “me time” isn’t a luxury — it’s a necessity. Everyone’s idea of solitude and rest is different. For some, it might be connecting with nature by taking a long walk in the park or by spending time near the ocean. For others, it might be having a full afternoon or evening to themselves completely uninterrupted watching Netflix. No matter the activity, it’s important to know what helps you to relax and unwind.
Introverts are natural thinkers — sometimes overthinkers — so when it comes to self-care, our aim should be to find ways to reduce our mental chatter. If your mind is still very mentally active after your moments of alone time, then you may still have too much stimulation around you. Find your own personal and unique ways to unwind and recharge. Your mind, body, and spirit will thank you for it.
Having a self-care regime doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience anxiety or overwhelm ever again, but it does better equip us to handle challenges when they do show up. Self-care can give us regular opportunities to slow down, catch our breath, and take a break from our very fast-paced and digitally dominated world. As you learn how to make yourself a priority, the more you will step into your best self… quietly.
You might like:
- How Being an Introvert Turned Me Into a Morning Person
- For Introverts, Why Are Our Bedrooms Our Havens?
- Here’s What Makes Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Personality Type Angry
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