“Society has a cultural bias towards extroverts” – Susan Cain
It doesn’t take a whole lot of searching to discover just how true this statement is. When it comes to introversion and extroversion, we definitely live in a world that favours the latter.
But first of all – what exactly is introversion and extroversion?
(spoiler alert: it’s not just “shy” and “not shy”)
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Extroverts – The Social Butterflies
Extroverts are people who get energized when they’re around other people. They’re the social butterflies of the world. And if these butterflies spend too much time alone, they’ll start to feel isolated and uninspired. Full of life, full of energy, and full of chat – you’ll always find the extroverts wherever the action is (think Genie from Aladdin – that should paint a pretty good – if not slightly exaggerated – picture).
Introverts – The Not-So Social Butterflies
Introverts, on the other hand, get their energy from being alone. This doesn’t mean they don’t like being social or aren’t friendly, it just means that too much social interaction drains them. They therefore tend to be the ones who are quieter, more introspective, and usually a good few feet away from all the action (think Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Slightly romanticized, but I think we’ll take it).
There’s a place for both these wonderful types of people in our world. But the reality is: society tends to privilege extroverted traits over introverted ones.
Think about it – how many times have you heard ‘leadership’, ‘action-oriented’ and ‘team-player’ spewed out as virtuous qualities to aim for? And how many times have you totally faked these virtuous qualities on your resume in an attempt to land a job?
There’s an extrovert expectation that’s imposed on children from the time they can walk and talk – Beth Buelow
This extrovert expectation can be seen everywhere you look. The business world is a perfect example – where being persuasive, decisive, and assertive – trademark extrovert traits – is pretty well the holy trinity of the corporate game (besides being able to speak very LOUDLY).
And it’s not just in the business world – this extrovert bias can also be seen in the other most important institution in our society – schools.
Participation grades – my story
When I was in University, we had this god-awful practice in place called participation grades (I’ll take a moment here to let every introvert reading this catch their breath).
During class, we were expected to speak up and contribute to the discussion. The thing is, I didn’t want to speak up and contribute. It wasn’t because I was shy – it was just because this simply wasn’t the way I (or any other introvert sitting in that class) operated.
I work best by listening to other people and then having time to process my thoughts on my own. And a 30 minute class discussion where 20 people are going back and forth debating doesn’t quite allow for that.
I would always feel so overwhelmed when I was sitting in these classes. And it didn’t make matters any better when I could see my professor glaring at me from across the room just waiting for me to “speak up”.
It never happened, and I have the grades to show it.
Knowing yourself and the world around you
What it all comes down to is this: you need to know how you work and you need to know how the world around you works. Only once you know this will you be able to understand how to make yourself happy in it.
This is true for both introverts and extroverts. Introverts, however, may need a little extra help with this, as our society does little in the way of helping them on its own.
And THIS is where the power of self-care comes in.
For us introverts, think of self-care as your lifeline. Without it, you’ll have a hard time being able to function in the extroverted world around you. That’s why for this article, I thought I’d round up my best, most effective self-care habits to keep all you introverts feeling fulfilled, energized, and FULLY operational!
So go some place quiet and listen up (which I know you will because you’re all great listeners), because here are 30 THINGS that are going to help you survive in this hectic world.
“Come out of your shell’ – that noxious expression which fails to appreciate that some animals naturally carry shelter everywhere they go and some humans are just the same” – Susan Cain
Related Article: 100 Self Care-Ideas for When You’re Having a Bad Day
30 Self Care Ideas for Introverts
1. Schedule in daily alone time
Now when I say schedule, I mean schedule – schedule it in that calendar like a doctor’s appointment! Even if it’s for ten minutes every afternoon, make sure you spend some part of your day A-L-O-N-E.
2. Learn how to say ‘no’
And stop feeling guilty about it! There’s no need to take on more than you can chew. If your body’s telling you that you don’t want to do something, you need to listen to to you body.
3. Have a solo morning routine
Being alone in the morning is essential for an introvert to start their day off on the right foot (read: be in a good mood). Wake up before anyone else, do your stuff, and watch how much more aligned you feel for the rest of the day.
4. Have a solo night routine
This is just as important as your morning routine. Ending your day alone will give you time to be quiet, reflect, and work through any thoughts you have before going to sleep.
5. Stop comparing yourself to extroverts
Remember – society favours extroverted traits. This means that people who aren’t like are going to be celebrated as the “ideal” in the media and in your life. Don’t let it get to you. Remember: you are totally fine just the way you are.
6. Spend time in nature
This is one of the best ways to feel instantly refreshed and energized. Go for a walk around your block, go for a hike in the forest, or even just take a few deep breaths on your doorstep (pretending not to notice any of your neighbours who walk by, of course).
7. Read a book
Immerse yourself in the pages of a book and let them wisp you away to a whole different world (because sometimes our world can just be too darn much – and too darn loud).
Journaling – especially stream of consciousness journaling – is an incredibly powerful tool that helps you get in touch with your innermost thoughts and, therefore, your true self (also – it’s WAY easier for us introverts to express ourselves in writing rather than speaking).
9. Check in with yourself
How are you feeling in this moment? Are you okay? Are you stressed? Overwhelmed? Overstimulated? Make a habit of asking yourself these questions a few times a day. In fact, annoy yourself with how often you ask these questions!
10. Have a TV show just for YOU
Watching creepy crime dramas with your partner can be great, but don’t forget to keep some feel-good shows specially for you! Gilmore Girls for the 80th time, perhaps?
11. Do some breathing exercises
Deep breathing is an immensely powerful way of bringing your thoughts out of the outer world and into the inner world for a few moments. If you want to learn about some specific breathing techniques, you can find them explained in our free Anxiety Handbook!
12. Listen to your favourite music
Put in your earbuds and jam out to your favourite tunes alone in your room. Use your hairbrush as a microphone, 2001 Lizzie Mcguire style. We won’t judge. In fact, we’ll be doing the same alone in our room!
13. Listen to podcasts
Tuning out the world and learning at the same time? Pretty much the definition of a win-win solution for any introvert. Try checking out these podcasts that are especially designed for us quiet types.
We already know that exercising is crucial for pretttty much everyone on this earth, but introverts can benefit even more from the alone time it gives them.
15. Listen to spa music
For me, listening to spa music is the quickest way to just calm down and zen out when I feel overwhelmed. Here’s a good playlist to get you started. WARNING: be careful not to close your blinds while you listen to it, or you may do what I’ve done MANY a time and accidentally forget that an outside world even exists.
16. Use some essential oils
Aromatherapy is another great tool you can use to counteract the hecticness of the world. My personal favourites for a chill-out sesh are lavender, eucalyptus, and clary sage. Pair this with the above mentioned spa music and you’re in for a real time.
17. Research something
Introverts tend to be naturally curious and good at studying. A good way to satisfy this urge is by researching a topic you don’t know much about. I suggest labelling a notebook “My Introverted Investigations” and using it to write down all that you discover!
18. Take a bath
This makes a great addition to your solo nighttime routine. Add in some essential oils for an extra bit of well-deserved pampering.
19. Bake or cook something
Yet another great way to get in the zone and tune out the world for a while. Plus, if you can get lasagna or cookies out of it, it’s a pretty sweet deal!
20. Clean your house
Try dedicating a half hour each day to cleaning. On top of giving you some much-needed alone time, it also has the added perk of ticking stuff off your to-do list!
21. Do something creative
It could be playing music, writing, doing some art, even just doodling on a scrap piece of paper – spending some time getting in touch with your inner artist child is a great way for introverts to feel more energized.
22. Shop alone
This is a MUST for every single introvert out there. Spending an afternoon shopping alone – whether that’s grocery shopping or treat-yourself shopping – can be all you need to feel fulfilled for the rest of your day. And get this: the only person you’ll have to talk to the whole time is the cashier!
23. Take a break from social media
The constant bombardment of information and photos of OTHER people can get exhausting. Switch your devices off and just focusing on doing your thing.
24. Take a long shower and spend a lot of time getting ready
Honestly, who doesn’t like a nice, thorough shower and then spending a good two hours in the bathroom self-pampering? Sorry roomies – bathroom is occupied for the foreseeable future.
25. Look through old photos
This is a super cute and personal activity that’s meant just for YOU. Close your door, open you old photo albums, and take a wistful walk down memory lane.
26. Schedule a date with your best friend
Although introverts get refreshed by being alone, we can also sometimes get this from spending one-on-one time with one – ONE (did I mention one?) – of our closest friends. Just make sure it’s someone who you feel comfortable being totally yourself around.
27. Set specific times for contacting people
If you’re an introvert but you have a lot of friends, it can be overwhelming when text after text after text starts to cram up your inbox. Instead of feeling like you have to respond to everyone STRAIGHT away, set aside 30 minutes a day dedicated to catching up on your correspondence (sounds romantic, no?).
28. Go on a solo day trip
If you’re an introvert and you’ve never spent a day at a museum, art gallery, or even a restaurant alone – you’re seriously missing out. This is one of the most refreshing things that we can do as introverts. Plus – it’s also a fantastic way to gain confidence!
29. Take a long drive
Turn up the radio, roll down the windows, and just enjoy the cruise. Maybe discover a new town, maybe get lost, maybe accidentally drive to the mountains and stay for a month… whoops.
30. Schedule your week
One of the most useful things you can do as an introvert is spend some time (on a Sunday!) scheduling out your week. This allows you to schedule in advance time to spend doing these self-care habits.
It’s one thing to read about self-care, but it’s a whole other thing to actually incorporate these habits into your daily routine.
Content Creator at Mindaya