I expected life to slow down a little bit for me after graduating from college. Homework-free evenings and weekends? Yes, please! Now I could actually start new hobbies and get together with all the people I haven’t had time to see on a regular basis (while still keeping up with my other friends and, oh yeah, taking time to get to know new people).
There’s just one problem with all of this: it is absolutely exhausting. So exhausting, in fact, that it has made me feel physically sick at times. Between evenings and weekends filled to the brim to the never-ending stream of notifications on my phone, I’ve found myself more irritable, more depressed, lashing out at people more often, and dreading each social gathering a little more than the last. What’s wrong with me?
I think I’ve finally realized it: I’m bad at introverting.
Because when I really think about it, when is the last time I’ve set aside specific time for myself? When is the last time I’ve had a day with nothing going on? When is the last time I actually had some quiet time before bed without falling asleep in the middle of texting someone? I love coffee dates and movie nights and (yes) even talking on the phone for hours. But when these things leave me with no room to catch a breath, I begin to shut down and not feel like myself. Because I am an introvert. I have a limited capacity for social time, and I’m finally starting to accept that that’s okay.
With that said, here are three ways that I hope to start incorporating introvert time into this new stage of life:
- Intentionality — I am not usually very proactive about taking time away from people. If I happen to be alone, then great. But I think recharging is something that takes effort and diligence just like anything else. It’s something I want to be more intentional about fitting into my daily life.
- Protecting my time — I recently read Boundaries by Henry Cloud (which I might write a separate post about). One takeaway was that it’s okay (and actually healthy) to learn to say “no” to things, even good things, in order to take care of ourselves. This is hard for me, but it’s something I want to start putting into practice.
- Doing things that are soul-filling — This means not scrolling through Instagram for an hour. Or watching YouTube videos all evening. Instead, I need to use my “me time” to do things that give me time to reflect and process instead of tune out from reality.
If you’re an introvert, I’d love to hear from you! What are some ways that you take time to recharge and balance your social life?