8 things introverts can do to decompress

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I'm not shy and I don't hate people…let me just put that out there. But I am a card-carrying introvert. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Introverts don't have introvert cards…mostly because that would involve having to take extra steps to talk to extra people. Just no.

Balancing my personal and professional responsibilities – which often involves what I like to refer to as “peopling” – with my need for solitude is sometimes a challenge. I enjoy socializing, just in small doses. When I find myself in situations where I have extra social time, I need to balance it with a little extra “me time” or I pretty much go batshit crazy.

Here are a few “introvert approved” pastimes that help me recharge and get ready to join the humans again…in small does, of course!

1. Read a book

I am not usually early adaptor but I've had a Kindle since 2010. I'm on my third one. I read nearly every day and it's by far my favorite way to decompress. I love losing myself in a book and I have a variety of different things that interest me.

2. Craft

Yes, you read that right. While I don't consider myself crafty or creative, I do like simple crafts now and then, especially if I can do them without my small humans crawling all over me wanting to get their mitts on my paints and expensive scrapbook paper. It’s also a good way to unplug.

Speaking of books and crafting, my friend Bev wrote a book about creativity for busy moms: The Busy Mom's Guide to Creativity. You can check it out on Amazon – it’s only 99 cents right now for Kindle.

3. Engage in some pampering

I like to go and get a pedicure every now and then. I live in a warm climate and I wear sandals a lot so it’s always nice when my toes don’t look like they belong to a T-Rex. No one likes that. The spa near my house serves complimentary wine…I’m pretty sure it comes from a box but I overlook it. I take a book or indulge in some guilt free candy crushing without feeling bad that I’m ignoring my husband and kids.

8 ways introverts can decompress|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
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4. Go for a drive

I spend a lot of time in the car, running my kids from here to there or waiting on my kids to get done with some sort of activity. That’s not really that fun or relaxing. Neither is listening to their bickering or complaining that the 10-minute ride from the grocery store to our house is “taking too long.”

8 ways introverts can decompress|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
Loved the Santa Fe…it felt good to relax and go for a drive all. by. myself.

Going for a drive by myself, sometimes with no particular destination in mind, is therapeutic, especially if the weather is good. I recently had an opportunity to drive the 2016 Huyndai Santa Fe. We have a 2003 Santa Fe and while it still runs great, this sleek, newer model definitely had me drooling and talking to my husband about new car buying.

8 ways introverts can decompress|Ripped Jeans and Bifocals
The Santa Fe is a great car for hauling kids and groceries…but it's definitely not a relaxing time with THESE two in the car…

On my way home from an errand, I took the Santa Fe for a drive around our neighborhood…mostly because I wasn’t ready to give up my little slice of me time and succumb to the noise that is my house. Driving with no particular purpose in mind was actually very relaxing…and sort of productive. I found a couple of new shortcuts and got some great ideas for landscaping.

The 2016 Santa Fe’s has the smart liftgate and a ton of room in the back for whatever I happen to be hauling around…which is always something. Me time is nice but it doesn't happen very often and I always feel like I'm out of hands. Other available features include power passenger seat with height adjustment, heated and ventilated seats and rear parking sensors…who wouldn't love all those things?

5. Indulge

I hate the phrase “guilty pleasure” because I don’t think you should be guilty about enjoying what you enjoy. Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself. My favorite indulgence is Starbucks. I don’t get it that often because it’s so freaking expensive but LOVE me a venti nonfat iced shaken caramel machiatto with an extra shot…although I’m slightly worried that I sound super high maintenance when I order it.

[Tweet “Introvert or extrovert, everyone needs some good ideas for downtime”]

6. Exercise

I am not much of a sports person…mostly because I’m super uncoordinated and afraid of the ball in most any sport there is…but I enjoy walking and running and occasionally, hitting the weights. I like running because it’s something I can do almost anywhere at any time and because I can be alone with my thoughts. I occasionally run with my husband and while it’s nice that we can enjoy doing something healthy together, he usually screws things up by trying to talk to me. Grrr.

7. Journal

A lot of writers are introverts. Spilling out words onto paper or typing them on a computer screen are easier – and sometimes more preferable – to human interactions. Journaling is therapeutic and probably means different things to different people: writing down the basics of your day, listing your goals, thoughts, dreams or stuff that frustrating you. Journaling is also a nice, quiet centering activity that can help an introvert unwind or decompress.

I use the Keep app on my phone to keep track of notes and thoughts while I'm out and about but if you like to write stuff down by hand, this journal is pretty:

8. Plan

It’s always good to make sure you build your downtime into your schedule. If you’re going to have a week jam packed with “peopling” or heavy social commitments, make sure you schedule some time to unplug, decompress and recharge. Like most introverts, I find my alone time or quiet time to be energizing after I’ve spent a lot of time with other humans.

I like peopling…on my terms. If I know a weekend conference that is jam packed with social interaction will be rewarded with a quiet Monday where I can kick back and commune with the voices in my head then I’m in a much better space to enjoy being social when I get the opportunity.

As an introvert, people make me tired. I talked to an extroverted friend recently who told me being around a lot of people energized and motivated her. Uh…no. We’re all different and I think knowing ourselves is the key to being happy…but these are good tips for just about anyone. Regardless of what kind of “vert” you are, everyone needs their downtime in some way, shape or form.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Yes to all of these things! I have gotten much more introverted with age. I feel like a total hermit mostly talking to the friends I have made blogging. I just got Bev’s book, though and am excited to focus on my creativity again. And my mom has made me agree to let her take the kids and do more things for myself. Sounds lame, but I’m a helicopter and have gotten way too comfortable in letting motherhood consume me. Anyway, great list, my friend.

  2. I had a nice introvert weekend. I didn’t leave the house, I listened to an audiobook and colored in a coloring book (one of those detailed zen ones that they have out now). It felt good. I take my people-ing in small doses too. Last Friday my son was kicking the soccer ball and some other kids came over. With a short time there was seven boys in my backyard. He came in to get the radio to play it outside. I said to myself, he is such much like his dad in that regard – thrives on company.