Simple Tips for Self Care: Know How You Recharge
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If you caught my post about getting to know yourself, you know I’m a huge advocate of personality profiling tools like Meyers Briggs, Strengths Finder, Love Languages, Gretchen Rubin’s Tendencies, etc. (read the post here). Knowing what makes you unique, what your strengths/weaknesses are, and how you give and receive love can revolutionize your relationships and your productivity.
It doesn’t matter how efficient or amazing you are if you don’t take time to recharge. We all naturally need down time to recharge and fill up our energy and love tanks (that sounds silly, but it makes total sense if you read 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman). The single most helpful thing I’ve learned about rest is where I fall on the continuum of extrovert to introvert.
It’s important to note that extroverted does not mean outgoing and introverted does not mean shy. Those terms are often assumed to be the same, but I know some shy extroverts and quite a few outgoing introverts (me!).
Most basically, you are extroverted if you feel refreshed and energized after spending time with people and introverted if you need time alone to recharge. If you’re still not sure, take this quiz to figure it out.
Extroverts, Introverts, & Ambiverts
When we think of extroverted people, we tend to picture someone loud and colorful. Not all extroverts are so outgoing, some are reserved, but all extroverts can be described by the following as found on the Quiet Revolution:
Extroverts relish social life and are energized by interacting with friends and strangers alike. They’re typically assertive, go-getting, and able to seize the day. Extroverts are great at thinking on their feet; they’re relatively comfortable with conflict. Given the choice, extroverts usually prefer more stimulating environments that give them frequent opportunities to see and speak with others. When they’re in quiet environments, they’re prone to feeling bored and restless. They are actively engaged in the world around them and at their best when tapping into its energy.
I am truly amazed and impressed by the capacity my extroverted friends have. Sometimes I’m even a bit jealous that they can do so much and balance so many relationships!
Susan Cain, the author of Quiet and writer at Quiet Revolution, describes introverts this way:
Given the choice, you’ll devote your social energy to a small group of people you care about most, preferring a glass of wine with a close friend to a party full of strangers. You think before you speak, have a more deliberate approach to risk, and enjoy solitude. You feel energized when focusing deeply on a subject or activity that really interests you. When you’re in overly stimulating environments (too loud, too crowded, etc.) you tend to feel overwhelmed. You seek out environments of peace, sanctuary, and beauty; you have an active inner life and are at your best when you tap into its riches.
I appreciate people like Susan Cain who are studying and publishing the strengths of introversion because I am an outgoing introvert who used to feel like I had to be an extrovert to be liked or successful. Many introverts feel this pressure since our culture tends to only measure participation and interaction by verbal response: extroverts tend to process information verbally while introverts tend to process internally. Now I am happy to set boundaries to give myself enough time and space alone to truly enjoy the time I have with other people.
Apparently there’s such a thing as an ambivert! Just as it sounds, an ambivert is someone who exhibits both extroverted and introverted behaviors. If any of you are ambiverts, I’d love to pick your brain – I didn’t even know this was a thing until I was writing this post!
Why it matters.
If you’re an extrovert with some time to kill or in desperate need of some rest, it wouldn’t make sense for you to hide and read a book for hours. You’d go crazy. You need to be with people and experiencing the world. Us introverts would love nothing more than an afternoon or evening to ourselves with little to no human interaction.
Being introverted doesn’t make me antisocial, it just means I know my limits. My friends know that nap time is sacred. I need those hours in the afternoon to “introvert” so that I’ve got energy to get through the rest of the day. I enjoy social events and spending time with people, but after a large party or busy outing, I plan a few hours or a whole day of quiet time at home to recover.
It’s difficult to determine the extrovert/introvert tendencies of kids, but so far my kids seem to be extroverts. They get restless if they haven’t been around people in a few hours. Their favorite place is the grocery store because there are so many people to talk to and interact with. As the self-proclaimed Queen of the Introverts, it is often extremely challenging for me to give them the social input they need without completely exhausting myself. Susan Cain’s podcast and parenting resources have been a tremendous encouragement (check out Quiet Revolution for more information).
Make time for it.
We all need time to recharge. None of us can keep going at full capacity forever. That said, I’ll be taking the month of May off from publishing any new posts or podcast episodes. I need time to devote to refreshing my mind and recharging to find new words and thoughts to share.
As much as I hate to share less for a few weeks, it’s important for me to take care of myself and prevent burn out. For me, that looks like extra time to read, think, and even let my brain off the hook for awhile.
What does recharging look like for you? Do you need to schedule it or does it come naturally? Are you an introvert or an extrovert?