Do you ever feel so exhausted that you find it hard to take care of yourself? Self-care is an ongoing challenge for many introverted women. We know that it’s important to recharge, and nourish our body and mind, but often we put ourselves last. Not only that.
We feel guilty for even thinking of putting ourselves first. We think self-care is synonymous
with “selfish”. In a culture where closing the door and spending time alone is often discouraged, it’s all too easy to ignore our introverted needs.
We push aside our need to for solitude, and press forward on our mission to be what society keeps telling us we should be: a busybody extrovert, who thrives off constant productivity and socializing. Not only do we put self-care on the back burner, we also dance in the dangerous territory of self-punishment.
I should know.
In my early twenties, I used to get angry at myself for not being able to enjoy all the ‘fun’ activities that extroverts get a buzz from. In an effort to fix myself, I kept as busy as possible, filling my social calendar with dance classes, parties, and get-togethers.
When my energy levels took a nose dive, and I began to feel anxious and irritable, I got down on myself for not being cheerful and chatty like my extroverted friends. As punishment, I would deprive myself even more of the self-care I needed. Instead of recharging, I would push myself even harder, imagining that if I could just put myself out there more I could earn my place in the extrovert’s club. That didn’t happen.
Instead, I eventually learned that being an introvert does not mean that I am a failed extrovert. It does, however, mean that I need to be especially vigilant when it comes to self-care.
If you’re like me, and you’ve spent years sweeping your introverted needs under the rug, it might be hard to know where to begin when it comes to self-care.
That’s why I’ve put together 6 easy and essential self-care tips for introverted women.
1. Schedule in daily recharge time
As an introverted woman, you probably have a lot on your plate. Your schedule is brimming with obligations. But you can’t pour from an empty cup. Prevent burnout and overwhelm by making daily recharge time a priority.
Mark it in your calendar as you would any important event. You see, spending daily time in solitude is more than just a nice idea for introverted women. It is an absolute necessity. So, make it a non-negotiable daily activity by setting aside time to recharge in solitude each day. Even ten minutes can make a difference.
2. Say ‘no’ without guilt
A lot of introverted women, especially nurturers and caregivers, find it hard to say ‘no’. This isn’t surprising considering our peaceful, conflict-averse nature. We imagine that saying ‘no’ will offend or anger people. But doing so is a powerful act of self-care. It protects our time, energy, and mental health. Unfortunately, there’s a problem.
We feel guilty for saying ‘no’. We think we are being selfish and mean by declining an invitation or request. It’s perfectly okay to say ‘no’ to an activity so that you can say ‘yes’ to your own needs. There is no need to feel bad about it. Still, I know it can be tough to let go of the guilt and feel okay with putting yourself first, especially if you have a giving, nurturing personality.
That’s why my friend Ida Regena created the Empowered Nurturers Network to help introverted women, who are nurturers, supporters, and caregivers to prioritize self-care and feel empowered. It’s a great way to grow in self-awareness and self-love, as you connect with other like-minded introverted women. You can go here to join the Empowered Nurturers Network (it’s free).
3. Let go of compare and despair
Have you ever compared yourself to an extroverted friend or family member and felt inferior? You thought that if you could only be more like so-and-so, you would be more likeable, fun, and successful. The truth is that comparisons are unproductive for two reasons:
1) You are likely comparing what you believe to be your worst qualities with the other person’s best qualities. Not a fair comparison at all!
2) You have different strengths and needs than the person you are comparing yourself to. You are comparing apples to oranges, and running in circles trying to turn yourself into someone you were never meant to be.
Honour your needs by letting go of comparisons, and focusing on how to make yourself feel good.
4. Reduce stimulation
From the moment we step out the door, to the moment we return home at the end of the day, introverted women are bombarded by stimulation. Traffic, crowded subway stations, loud noises, busy work environments, and bright lights overwhelm us and leave us feeling mentally drained.
Unfortunately, for many of us, the overstimulation doesn’t end when we return home. Many of us have unknowingly created an overstimulating home environment by spending too much time in front of the T.V. and on the internet.
One of the simplest ways to practice self-care is to turn off your T.V. and devices. As wonderful as they are, electronics are highly stimulating. Close the door, take a hot bath, meditate, close your eyes, breathe — the world will not fall off its axis if you step away from your phone and sit in silence for a while.
5. Start and end your day in solitude
How we begin and end our day is crucial for introverted women. Get off on the right foot by starting your day with a few moments of solitude. Perhaps this means you have to get up earlier. It’s worth it.
Spend the last twenty minutes before you go to sleep in complete quiet. Not only will this help you to fall asleep more quickly, it will also calm your mind, so that you wake up refreshed and clear-headed.
6. Spend time in nature
Time in nature is an essential self-care practice for introverted women. Best of all, it’s free. You don’t have to pay or plan for it. Just walk outside, find a quiet patch of green, and enjoy the rejuvenating benefits of being in the great outdoors.
Here are some easy ways to enjoy nature:
* go for a walk, run, or hike
* go swimming in a nearby lake or river
* lie on the grass and watch the clouds pass
* sit under a shady tree and read a book
* do yoga in the park
* go stand-up paddle boarding
* go skating, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing
Over to you
I hope that you found my self-care tips helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I shared.
Do you find it hard to prioritize self-care as an introverted woman? What are some of your favorite self-care practices? Feel free to share your comments below.
You can also continue the discussion, and get more support and empowerment tools by joining the Empowered Nurturers Network Facebook Group.
Lots of love,