I’m an introvert. And while it would suit me just fine to cozy up with a chai tea latte and Oprah’s latest book club pick, I also enjoy breaking bread with my family, dinners out with my gal pals, and even an event with 50 or more strangers from time to time.
Despite a cultural bias toward extroversion, it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing anymore to stay in when you are “supposed” to go to that concert, party, or baby shower that you really don’t want to attend.
Before you throw a tomato at me through your screen, let me say this: whether you identify as an extrovert or introvert, everyone can benefit from certain introverted behaviors. Here are my favorite six:
1. Fly solo to exercise.
Yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, running, biking all can be done with others, but really you have to find the motivation, stamina and drive to exercise on your own. You may have a buddy, or two, or 80, but they can’t exercise for you, and won’t get you off your butt when you need to jog off a stressful day. Introverts get their energy from within, so when we want to exercise and stick to a routine, we don’t rely on others for it.
2. Duck out early.
When was the last time you heard the bartender say, “Last call”? Even in the party-hearty days of my early 20s, it was a rare occurrence for me. I prefer the voice in my head that says, “Quit while you’re ahead,” or, “Leave them wanting more”. An earlier night means better sleep, so you're less likely to be grabbing that leftover pizza at 2 am, and more likely to be hitting your core-fusion class after work.
3. Excel at self-study.
Despite a good decade in full-time college and graduate education, the years I spent in the later part of my 20s soul-searching, researching and visualizing the life I wanted to create yielded the most positive outcomes. This meant a lot of quiet nights alone when my friends were going out and having fun, but now I have the life that’s aligned with my true desires and values.
Whether it’s learning a new language, finding a life partner, or figuring out how to become a successful business owner, there's a lot to learn outside of school, and when you have the inner drive to make your dreams come true, anything is possible.
4. Tune out the chatter.
We aren’t really fans of small talk, chatter, and social frivolousness. We're more interested and focused on the direction of our inner compass. Meeting new people is great, connecting in relationships that are fulfilling and stimulating is awesome, but being bombarded with the constant barrage of information, sights and sounds can mean that we lose sight of our true north.
5. Give meditation a whirl.
It might even sound fun. Sitting alone, in a quiet room, with only our thoughts as company? Doesn’t sound half bad, and its health benefits are too long to list here.
6. Throw a party of one.
Whether it’s an apple martini in an upscale hotel lobby, a cozy chamomile tea in bed, or the crackle of leaves beneath your feet on a wooded walk, enjoying your own company, at least some of the time, makes life fun, meaningful, and fulfilling. That’s something both introverts and extroverts can appreciate.
Erica Sawers is a registered dietitian, chiropractor and wellness consultant in private practice. She has studied nutrition, the body, fitness and health for over 15 years and is dedicated to a path of physical and mental wholeness. Erica sees clients for nutrition and wellness and runs a 10 week on-line nutrition program called Nutrition For A New You. See more at EricaSawers.com.