Thursday Afternoon Visits: September 6
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Self Care for Introverts

Even though I don't have a book of my own to promote, I always enjoy reading Shrinking Violet Promotions, a blog about marketing for introverts by Mary Hershey and Robin LaFevers. I especially enjoyed a recent post by Mary called "Self Care for Introverts". Publishing highlights from a book that doesn't (but should) exist, Mary includes five tips for introverts to help maintain sanity in a "maximum volume world". My favorite, the one that really resonated with me, is Tip #3:

"Honor and celebrate the quiet, low volume, solitary activities that you love and need. They aren't non-activities, and they aren't a sign of your stunted social development."

It's funny. I didn't always know that I was an introvert. I put up a good show in high school and college. I was frequently found at parties. In looking back, however, I realize that I have always required my alone time. Not just enjoyed it, but actually needed it. By senior year of college I was desperate to have a single dorm room (and had to jump through quite some hoops to achieve one), even though I was perfectly willing to go out for a little while every night.

At some point (I'm pretty sure it was on the Shrinking Violet site, but it could have been somewhere else), I read this definition of introvert and extrovert.

  • You are an extrovert if you gain energy by spending time with other people.
  • You are in introvert if spending time with other people depletes your energy, and you require time to yourself to recharge.

This made everything clear to me. I like to spend time with people. Of course I do. But it does drain me, and I need my time alone (or just with Mheir) to restore and repair. And I need my personal quiet low-volume activities, too. The best one is being in a beautiful place, ideally facing an ocean, and reading, with only the sound of the wind and the waves for company.

I have only recently realized that whole introvert thing is why I have so much trouble with travel. I just can't summon enough recharge time when I'm on most trips, and after a few days I start to really fray around the edges. I have started trying to build in the recharge time when I'm on business trips. I do things like fly in a bit earlier, so that I have time for a quiet dinner and some reading in my hotel room before bed. And it seems to help. But what helps more is understanding, through the help of people like Robin and Mary, that this is just how I am. I'm working on accepting it, and not beating myself up over it so much.

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.

If you need help with the care and feeding of your introvert self, check out Mary's other tips at Shrinking Violet Promotions.