When introverts are maxed out, it’s almost impossible for them to attend to other people’s needs. That’s where rituals come in.
I am a creature of habit.
I don’t mean that I live every day exactly the same, from dusk till dawn, from rising until I sleep again. I mean that I have specific rituals that I engage in just about every day, all with the goal of resetting my mind and nurturing my spirit.
Ritual has never been more important to me than it is right now, as both my personal life and the world at large are experiencing massive upheaval. There’s a lot of uncertainty in each day; for a sensitive introvert who likes to plan (and color code those plans at that), it’s an awful lot to take in.
My rituals involve a few different elements, but they are all conducted when I am alone or with my chihuahua, who likes to follow me around anywhere and everywhere I go. I find that I experience my easiest days when I begin alone on the porch with a cup of coffee, either sitting in silence or while playing a soothing record. My afternoons are more emotionally managed when I’ve had a chance to have a cup of tea, and I always have a good night of sleep if I have plenty of time to read a book (and not my phone) beforehand.
This extended period of quarantine has brought out the part of me that wants to bask in the joy of just being allowed to exist without an immediate purpose. I think it’s healthier to live this way, and that theory is backed up by more than my own experiences.
Why Ritual Is So Important for Introverts
Introverts and highly sensitive people (HSPs) are highly attuned to what’s going on inside their own minds and hearts. It doesn’t mean that we don’t value and love others (and in fact, we are often fierce in our love); it just means that we are the kind of people who need to make time for ourselves before we can appropriately make time for others. When I feel emotionally maxed out, it’s almost impossible for me to adequately attend to the needs and emotions of the people I love the most.
I know I’m not alone. There are numerous people who believe that including ritual in your self-care is crucial for helping each of us to be happier and emotionally stronger.
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Daily Rituals for Introverts
If you don’t yet have rituals of your own, it can be overwhelming to try to come up with a few on the fly. Here are some of my favorites that are pretty easy to pick up. Keep in mind that there is definitely no right way to do any kind of self-care ritual; what feels good to you is probably what you should stick with.
- Use a planner. I love my Passion Planner, and am using it just as frequently even during this year that has put so many plans on pause. I also love spending an hour or so decorating and organizing its pages with stickers from this Etsy shop.
- Read. I try to read at least 30 minutes each night, no matter what’s going on in my life. I brew a cup of peppermint tea, get in bed, and open up my current book. I always make sure reading is the last thing I do each night, because I’ve found that I sleep much better when the light from my phone isn’t the last thing I experience.
- Listen to music. I have a few playlists that I rotate through each week, but I also like to give myself space to be surprised by new artists from time to time. I especially find comfort in hearing familiar songs.
- Meditate. I am not religious, but I sometimes find great solace in meditation. If you don’t have your own meditation practice, there are plenty of options out there. I am particularly fond of Gil Fronsdal’s Dharma Talks, especially because Gil isn’t trying to sell a certain lifestyle or brand. He’s just offering respite in a world that can feel overwhelming and chaotic at the best of times.
- Brew tea. I am lucky enough to have a local tea shop that sells truly unique, beautiful blends of tea that are tailored to certain moods and mindsets. I initially had a very casual relationship with tea, but over the years, I have grown to appreciate the entire experience: pouring water into the kettle, starting it up, listening for the slow bubble as the water boils, preparing the leaves and my tea cup, and then, of course, enjoying the cup of tea itself. There’s something especially soothing about engaging in an act that people have been performing for at least 5,000 years.
- Organize my space. Like many introverts, my bedroom is my haven. This is especially true these days, as my room has become the place where I retreat whenever I need (or want) to. I have never had a huge budget, but with care and deliberation (and being a keen second-hand shopper), I have been able to nurture an environment that is calm, soothing, and deliberate. I especially love filling my bedroom with plants and candles.
Be Kind to Yourself
When beginning the journey toward creating rituals that nurture your introversion, don’t hesitate to prioritize each of your needs and what your soul is really asking of you. It’s okay to take your time with this particular project. Rituals only feel good when they’re tailored to what you really need, and the only way to find out what those needs are is to explore within yourself.
While this particular time in all of our lives is fraught with heightened emotions and justified fear, it is also one that allows us more space than usual to explore ourselves and what we need. Introverts are especially gifted at coping with the extra confines of spending extra time at home, which makes us most suited for developing rituals that celebrate who we are, and that will make us feel truly at peace.