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Every Introvert Needs To Know About This Self-Care Practice

Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy
Doctor of Clinical Psychology
By Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy
Doctor of Clinical Psychology
Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, is a psychologist and executive coach who received her clinical psychology doctorate from University College London. She has been featured in Elle, Forbes, Business Insider, and elsewhere.
Photo by Lumina

When I tell people I’m taking time out for my "introvert hangover," I’m not joking. What you must know is that it doesn’t come with the splitting headache and dehydration of alcoholic hangovers. Instead, my introvert hangovers fill me with joy, and I regard them with utmost sanctity. Here’s why.

I'm now a confident introvert.

A manager once told me to express opinions about subjects I was clueless about, among other things that align closer to the extroverted personality. It pained me how I was expected to shoehorn myself into something I wasn’t wired for. Plus, it reinforced everything I’d been scolded for since childhood, from sitting back and observing to not liking large groups, parties, and crowded spaces.

But it’s one thing to choose not to do something; it’s another to beat yourself up for not doing it. Understanding that introverts are wired to savor meaningful intimate interactions and are recharged by spending time alone helped me forgive myself for my perceived inadequacies. By owning my wiring and loudly and proudly saying that I am nursing my introvert hangover, I'm so much more confident about who I am.

I have shed old inhibitions.

Coming out of my "introvert closet" has skyrocketed my personal growth. During my introvert hangovers, I reflect and integrate my lessons. There is a difference between being socially anxious and introversion. I chose to rise from the former—picking up the skills and shedding old stories that kept me stuck—so I can revel in the glories of being an introvert.

Now that I've accepted my true nature, my previous resentment toward extroverts has also been banished. Truth be told, I was envious of how easy things seem for them. Today, I get to appreciate them for who they are.

I have committed to quality socializing.

Introverts aren’t hermits. Introverts grow, rejuvenate, and get inspiration from social connections. They just need to have high-quality interactions. Devoting time to my introvert hangovers means I commit to high-quality interactions, and who I give my energy to matters.

This means I often consider the people in my life and ask myself how healthy they are for me and how healthy our relationship is. It’s about curating a quality circle of insiders who have my back. I've also redefined my rules of socializing.

First, I no longer socialize like an extrovert—whether it’s on a personal level or business networking. This means one-on-one interactions or in small groups. Second, I enjoy connecting people, but if I’ve introduced two people, I’ve personally done so. To me, this matters in a world of irresponsible name-dropping and upholding my reputation. Third, I’ve also redefined "socialization" to include digital interactions, which is important because I am an expatriate with a global network. These days, socializing invigorates me, and then I look forward to my well-deserved introvert hangover.

I've learned to say no with grace.

Previously, I vacillated between not knowing how to say no and feeling bad for doing so. And there’s no better training ground than real life—as I tell my clients, "Doing is believing." Sometimes, our no's are more powerful than our yeses. Understanding that I need to be selective about my energy and time means I have ample practice learning how to say no, clarifying the energy behind my no's, and believing that I have permission to say no. In the meantime, I have fortified my boundaries and learned to get real with myself about the people who truly matter.

My home is paradise.

A clean, organized, and stylish house that smells divine and fills me with joy is what I come home to every day. The money I spent on forced socializing is now diverted toward quality for my home. Every experience feels exquisite—from lush white linens to Italian sparkling water to quality essential oils—so I commit to wellness every day. It incentivizes my introvert hangover days. As an entrepreneur who works partly from home, having a nourishing environment boosts my productivity and inspires me.

I sleep like a cat.

Day of the Cat is a long-standing practice in which I sleep for 18 hours a night and emerge refreshed. Still, a part of me wondered if I was being indulgent. Except that when I check my mental well-being—confirming that I’m not depressed, anxious, or physically ill—I learned to listen to my body’s wisdom.

Sleep rejuvenates. We cull unwanted memories and toxins, renew our cells, and recharge our figurative batteries. Sometimes I reach epiphanies, spark creativity, and remember things from my past to work on. It’s healing. And for me, it closes chapters. After intensive socializing, I give myself permission to sleep like a cat.

I am healthier and more energetic.

Honoring my introvert wiring means I allow my nervous system to regulate itself. This is key after too much social and sensory stimulation. Rather than beat myself up, I wholeheartedly permit myself to recharge and charge up a figurative spare battery. This way, I'm so much healthier and more energetic.

I don't just manage my time; I master it.

Time management works only if you’ve found that rare sweet spot. When we master who we are—meaning accepting and leveraging how we are wired and then picking up skills to fill some gaps—we master our time. My introvert hangovers have taught me that.

I now read up to 10 books a week, cultivate a thriving indoor garden despite old beliefs that I have a "black thumb," hone my interior styling and cooking skills, and write a lot. I have studied topics that grip me, from astrology to plant medicine to neuroscience—all while running my business, traveling, and having ample sleep. As a result I feel smarter, wiser, and infinitely more creative.

I'm a better psychologist, coach, and entrepreneur.

Owning who I am means I walk my talk. My clients feel defective for their wiring, often without realizing they are introverts. When they realize they aren’t alone, it removes the background anxiety from labeling oneself as "different" and "weird." This way, they can more quickly leverage the gifts of introversion. It starts by learning how to best care for yourself, just as different types of plants need different fertilizers and sunlight strength.

My introvert hangovers have made me more aligned with who I am. As a result of the elevated energy, time, and creativity I now enjoy from joyfully blocking out chunks of "P time," I’m also a thriving entrepreneur, because we’ve got to allow personal growth to lead our professional growth. Owning who we are is the foundation of everything in life. Neurodiversity is a beautiful thing, and I hope you enjoy the wondrousness of how you’ve been wired.

Whether you're an introvert or an extrovert, here are 21 things every introvert wants you to know.

Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy author page.
Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy
Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, is a psychologist and executive coach currently living in Singapore. She received her doctorate in clinical psychology from University College London and her master's in philosophy from University of Cambridge. Her first book This Is What Matters was published by Simon & Schuster in May 2022, which guides you to transform crisis to strength, or design an #EverydayAmazing life.

She has been featured in Elle, Forbes, and Business Insider and has previously worked with Olympians, business professionals, and individuals seeking to master their psychological capital. She works globally in English and Mandarin-Chinese via Skype and Facetime, blending cutting-edge neuroscience, psychology, and ancient wisdom.