I’ve been “tired” for a long time.
Or at least that has been reflected back to me often from people in my life. I take care of myself; I eat incredibly well, I walk/move/stretch/do some kind of exercise daily, I meditate, I connect with people I care about, I have meaningful work, I get seven to nine hours of sleep most nights.
So why the f*ck am I so tired?
When my boyfriend recently quipped back at me when I said I was tired after a ridiculous argument over…I don’t even remember what, but I know it had nothing to do with the real reason we were fighting, I apologized by saying I was tired. I realized there is no reason why I should be tired allllll the time. Yes, I have a demanding career and make choices to be actively involved in many things, but what is the real reason I am so damn tired?
Well, I’m an introvert.
I love and cherish being alone. I recharge when I have the space and time to putter and be in my own space. Quiet. Without people. It’s like home for me, and a salve for my spirit. Actually, it’s more than love. I need to be alone.
What I realized when he said this, is that when I don’t get enough time to just be—without the demands of my job (which require me to sit one-on-one with people all day fully engaged and “on”) or socializing or interacting with my partner—without this time, I get so very, very tired. But it’s not about sleep.
In our time of go-go-go, be busy, “don’t just sit there do something” mentality, it’s taken me 48 years to finally give myself permission to be alone. I now book off time to be at home, with no extroverted plans, and allow myself the deliciousness of being alone.
And let me tell you…it feels divine!
This doesn’t mean I don’t love my work (I do and I find it incredibly meaningful and inspiring). This doesn’t mean I’m not sociable and like spending time with friends and at parties (I love a good party and my friends mean the world to me). And this doesn’t mean that I’m going to lock myself away forever and become a total recluse. Not at all.
It simply means (for me) that I book off one full day a week and one separate evening that is just mine. Non-negotiable time where I get to choose what I do. If I’m feeling recharged, I might venture out into the world. If I’m not, I have the freedom and luxury of staying in. Alone.
Just knowing that I have this to look forward to each week makes a huge difference for me. I already see the change.
I know for many people a full night off from the world is a luxury that they can’t necessarily afford…but there are ways that little bits of quiet introvert recharging time can be snuck into one’s day:
1. Time quiet in bed or another room for 30 minutes when the rest of the family is doing something else.
2. Swapping out chores so that one parent or the other will have the house to themselves for a few hours here or there.
3. Folding laundry in the peace and quiet can be recharging for me if I’m craving some stillness.
4. Saying no more often to social events or just waiting to commit until the night of a party as not to go based on obligation and to the detriment of your inner needs. And I know this can be hard. Sometimes it’s hard for extroverted folks to understand, but said in the right way, claiming that self-care and alone time can be one of the most liberating things. Uncomfortable at first (it has been for me at a least), but so worth it!
5. Taking a solo lunch break instead of socializing with others in a lunch room (my friend, a wonderful introverted teacher, does just this—eating in her classroom solo so she can recharge her introverted self and have enough to give the students in the afternoon).
6. Meditation on a bench in the park; or sit and have a quiet tea in nature (without the need to talk).
7. Even having a quiet dinner prep where everyone does their chores mindfully without talking.
See what that quiet and stillness brings. I know my partner and I love to be together and even in the same room together, but sometimes making the effort to not speak for an hour or so at a time to savour the silence and internal time can be wonderful and nourishing for my inner world.
There are lots of ways to get your introvert on (see The Introvert Advantage if you feel you might like to learn a bit more about this).
Give it a try and see if maybe, just maybe, you’ll be a little less “tired” too!
Author: Angela Warburton
Image: Unsplash/Niklas Hamann
Editor: Travis May
Copy and Social Editor: Lieselle Davidson