self-care for introverts

I recently got back from a conference. At Disneyland. If there were a recipe for stressing out a highly sensitive introvert, this would be it. But guess what? I survived! And it took some deliberate planning and work to make the experience work for me and not against me.  I want to share some of my self-care practices here:

Tips for introverts on how to succeed in a highly stimulating, social environment:

  1. Focus. You don’t need to attend every session, speak to every person, or go to every reception. Decide which things matter most, and don’t make yourself do things that don’t matter. Don’t wait until you’re already stressed out to take a break. You don’t need a hall pass, you’re a grown-up.
  2. Take your home practices with you. What do you do to de-stress at home? Yoga? Netflix? Lavender essential oil? Music? These things can come with you. You can fit them in, and you should.
  3. Take care of your body. I know my body feels best when I eat fresh fruit and veggies, run or walk in the morning, and do some sun salutations. So my carry-on has blueberries, running shoes, and my travel yoga mat.
  4. Find an ally. Do you have a colleague or friend who is going to be there? Can you bring your spouse? (I did!). Connect with them. It might seem counterintuitive to suggest talking to people as the antidote to too many people, but a personal connection can alleviate feelings of being overwhelmed and alienated.
  5. Give yourself credit, don’t beat yourself up. This one is hard, but recognize yourself for doing something that you find challenging. Notice when you get something positive from the experience: exposure, an introduction, a new idea. Let yourself off the hook for missing something that might have been good, too.

So those are some basic strategies. The important thing to remember is that we all have unique needs, and it is imperative that we learn to identify what ours are. The people who function the best and feel the best are the people who work with what they have. This is true in all kinds of ways! Happiness, business, health, love. . .

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