This week, Imagine Hope is discussing what it means to be an introvert.
Some people assume that being an introvert means that you are shy. That is not necessarily true! Introverts can be very outgoing and sociable people. In fact, many times, introverts love people-- learning about others, doing things for others, and can be very loyal, caring and loving individuals. As Christy mentioned on Monday in this weeks earlier blog series, the difference with introverts is that, usually, they need to "re-fuel" their emotional, mental, spiritual and physical "tank" by doing things that are more solitary and self-reflecting. Introverts usually prefer to do things that are not social and do not involve other people when they are seeking to nurture themselves and do something that is self-care. This is because they tend to lose more energy than gain it from being around others for long periods of time.
So, what does self-care look like for an introvert?
Because an introvert processes their thoughts internally first, or connecting with their "internal voice", they tend to find relaxation in activities that allow them to do this. Many introverts enjoy running, walking, or exercise that is alone and gives them time inside their own minds for self-reflection. Gardening or yard work, crafts, household tasks like cleaning and reorganization, writing, journaling, going to a spa for massages/facials/pedicures, and reading, are often popular self-care activities for introverts.
It's important for an introvert to recognize that being introverted in a world that encourages extroversion is sometimes difficult. Many people I work with in counseling have embarrassment or shame from not enjoying being around large groups of people or being as social, and feel as though they "should" push themselves to be around people more often. While socialization and connections in relationships are very important, an introvert must truly find balance with this, because if they overextend themselves with social events that deplete them (without adequately refueling their tank), it can cause burn-out.
It is important for an introvert to learn that the way they connect with others might be on a more one-on-one basis. These connections might feel more meaningful to the introvert, and might also be another way they can enjoy self-care.
Joleen Watson, MS, LMFTA NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.