What Self-Care for Feminine Introverts Needs To Be
Do you ghost at parties, leaving with no goodbye once you hit your limit for chit-chat, feeling drained?
Do you escape to your hotel room after giving a presentation or lecture at a conference to watch TV while everyone else networks at the bar?
Do you love your kids – yet crave a hidden corner with a book when the rest of the family gathers for a game or karaoke?
Me too. Welcome to introvert-land.
Introverts, long mislabeled as “too shy” or “too quiet” or even “rude party-poopers,” feel drained by overstimulation or being around people for too long. While far from being misanthropes – we love people – we feel pulled to an inner world of quiet and solitary rejuvenation.
The requirement for introverts is simple: spaciousness. Quiet, alone time spent doing whatever fills you up.
But what if you’re a woman and an introvert?
In my experience helping introverted women feel good in their own skin and create lives filled with vitality, the “quest for quiet” is an even bigger challenge.
Because we’re trained to take care of others first (heck we are masters at this!), experts at putting the energetic needs of others over our own, and trained to ignore our inner needs so much that we often can’t even connect to the voice inside telling us “enough is enough.”
Yet, it’s the single most important task we introverted women can accomplish.
A recent example from my own life:
When my husband’s family demanded we all meet up for Thanksgiving in an all-inclusive resort in Mexico, we two introverts balked. While it felt like a step above a cruise, where you’re trapped with 5,000 people you don’t know in a floating amusement park/mall, the idea of being “trapped” in a hotel with no escape still set off our introvert alarms.
For extroverts, being with loads of happy vacationers with all-you-can-eat and drink access seems like a holiday dream. The women in the family gathered to drink, gossip and dine together for every minute of the day.
Because I’ve gotten super clear on my needs for down-time, rest, and quiet, I made spacious time alone on my ocean-view veranda a priority, even when I got the side-eye and non-supportive comments from the family.
Even during vacations with my son, I make it clear to him that “Mommy needs quiet time.” Because I return to him refreshed, calm, and happy, he doesn’t worry that I don’t want to be around him. He accepts my needs. How great is that?
Here’s the truth, women:
Feminine introverts need quiet, freedom, and spaciousness to truly feel rested. Especially when you’re a mom, caregiver, service provider, and/or coach.
My idea of an ideal introvert-centric vacation is either:
a solo camping trip for bird watching in the Joshua Tree desert (like I did in February), or
a quiet long weekend at a wifi-free cabin in the woods with a bicycle and no one else near, except the diner in town, two miles away.
In the last year, I’ve taken two solo vacations. No husband. No child. No work.
After my husband went through two horrible months of a spinal injury and surgery, I was completely drained. As soon as he was able to manage on his own, I told him I needed time away. He understood completely, also being an introvert, and I booked a long weekend in a cabin on Long Island. Alone.
Reading, riding my bike to the town three miles away, watching old movies, and taking naps, were exactly what I needed. On the train ride home, I was eager to see my husband and kid, and felt satiated. Satisfied. Full.
But I’m not typical. Most women feel guilty for even thinking about taking alone time.
Believe me, I used to feel the pain of guilt for taking an afternoon off or a weekend escape. And then I realized my true nature, and that as an introvert, alone time is not just a luxury but a downright necessity.
Now I work with women with lives just as full and mission-driven as my own — heck even more as some clients have several children and a staff of employees to manage — and help them see the value in spacious time for their health and sanity.
Convincing some women that they need a day off by themselves once a month is hard enough. Recommending they take a 2 or 3 day retreat for themselves? You can imagine the shocked looks and responses I get:
- “But how will my husband manage the kids alone?”
- “I have way too much work to do as it is – the work would pile up so bad I’d be even more stressed leaving!”
- “I’d feel too selfish not spending the weekend with my family.”
- “I can’t afford it. Maybe in a few months.”
All of these are reasonable excuses, but they’re just that – excuses.
I asked the women in my open Facebook group (you can join us here) what their challenges and strategies are as introverts. This is a hot topic! Over 100 women shared their comments, and here are the most interesting and common thoughts:
The more connected I am the more introverted I become…. I need way more me time these days that’s ideally solitude. I also find I need regular doses of stillness is essential for me. As for the challenges? It’s a huge challenge to make non-introverts understand how crucial this alone time is to my well-being. I need it every single day … some days more than others.
Hmm… challenges: I seem outgoing, so people have no idea that I’m an introvert. I’m also pretty high anxiety, which comes out only when I don’t have enough me time, which is also something people don’t expect from me! The noise level of life – the world is a pretty noisy place to me, but most people don’t seem to be bothered by it. I’m often turning down the volume on TVs, radios, moving seats in restaurants to get farther from the speakers.. leaving places all together due to the noise. I like to listen to my music loud and sleep best in the spring when the frogs (peepers!) in the ponds are deafening so it’s a very particular kind of noise that I find overwhelming.
To recharge, a walk outside does wonders. Silence is amazing… as is a great song that I love that energizes me. Laying down and closing my eyes, or an actual nap. Stretching also can help a lot. I think it’s about the slow calm movement and attention to my body.
I think I am borderline Introvert… turning down volume, walking away from things that seem unappealing for a moment.Time by myself for a weekend, reading, going for a walk, a nap, and I especially de-stress when I read design books. Next on my list, will be meditation:)
I have to ‘force’ myself to go out. I will rather read a book. I am working on making eye contact with people and at least smile. I can’t just start a conversation with a stranger. Recharge by reading, crafting and relax in a bath.
Jessica: Walking outside with some good music
I’m a teacher, so at the end of the day I’m so exhausted from interacting all day, I recharge by working out and relaxing in a nice epsom salt bath. It’s a lot for me everyday so I practice a lot of self care at night to recharge.
Meditation, quiet commuting — No music, no news, no talking with others on the way to work. Getting into work without a bunch of extra words was a great way to start the day. 15 minutes of “no talking buffer” after work, not packing social stuff in on weekends – white space on the calendar. Julia: I’m an ambivert who leans more towards introversion. I’ve found getting outside every day for a walk with my dog has made a world of difference. Meditating EVERY day is also life changing. Listen to your intuition. There are times when I know I need to say no, even when I want to say yes, simply because I don’t have the energy. Likewise, there are times when it’s critical I push myself to be social even when I would rather stay at home on the couch. Balance is key.
My cat! Being around any animals, really. Scratching one or just having one on your lap is so soothing and undemanding. Carissa: I’m already looking forward to reading your piece! One thing that’s huge for me as an introvert is journaling. It helps “unclog the filter” and puts me back in touch with my own voice when it gets covered up.
I’ve learned that allowing myself to rest helps me recharge. I push myself to do more than humanly possible every day. Because I am an introvert with a very social job, I get worn out by too much communication. So I absolutely need time to rest and be alone. Reading or listening to music alone in my bedroom helps too.
Time by myself in nature. A walk in the woods or something similar can make a big difference. That and naps. Naps are a huge help.
I definitely tend toward introvert, though I’m more ambiverted than some (my partner, for example, is far more introverted than I). For me, a big challenge is discerning where my introversion ends and my social anxiety begins — since they are intertwined, and I think a lot of my social anxiety comes from not learning good interpersonal skills due to being an introvert (and born into a VERY introverted family ;-)) It’s actually something I think about a lot. I spend a lot of time (as do many of us) on personal development. But … we also know that we should be true to ourselves. So at what point is pushing for / pursuing growth actually at odds with accepting ourselves for who we are?
I think I’m technically an ambivert… so that said…. I have to watch the mixture that I am OUT on stages and in public, and how much I am in solitude. Too much of either is not good for me or my business.
If I go speak & make an offer at a big event for instance…
I have learned to also create space to retreat to afterwards. So after a big talk I will mingle for a while and answer questions etc… but then you’d likely see me sneak away back to my hotel room, where I will take a break to regain my energy, and enjoy some quiet time.
Weird tip: Wearing ear plugs is helpful for me in situations like that.
So for me following the pack doesn’t really suit me. Feeling free to care for myself is important, and that often means stepping away for short breaks. That for me is typically enough to help through it. At larger events in general, I just try to find one or two people to chat with, and I stick with that. Feels much more doable, and I’m able to connect more personally.
Racheal B. C.:
Super introvert here!!! I actually love people and being in person but too much drains me. I’m the person who goes to events then spends the breaks taking a nap instead of chatting with everyone.
A big part of being introverted for me means making space for down time. During a coaching day when I’ve had several client calls – I need a solid hour to myself so I can center myself before jumping into family stuff.
And if I’m attending an event or traveling or something else that requires a lot of energy, I block off a day or two to recharge often with extra sleep, a good book, and a homemade meal with the family.
As far as what I do if actually AT a big event – I spend time beforehand figuring out who I know will be there and connecting in advance. It makes it easier when you already know there are a few people you can sit with and chat with at dinner.
Super introvert over here too! 🙂 I practice transcendental meditation twice a day — that helps a lot
I’ve always needed MASS quantities of alone time to start my day.
If I’m around others online or IRL I’m very sociable and outgoing (people don’t usually think I’m an introvert) but then I need to recharge myself alone.
I realized the importance of managing my energy -physically, mentally and emotionally – after burning myself out in my last career & now I manage my whole life/biz around my energy & it’s the foundation of much of my work. So yes to things like sleep, diet, exercise and the physical management, but even more importantly I realized is play, pleasure, sensuality and sexuality. I realized that mental and emotional drains such as deeper beliefs we’ve created that keep us holding onto feelings of resentment/blame, guilt / shame will prevent us from allowing ourselves to experience those things that give us our natural charge.
I’m a super introvert! Breath exercises and lots of resting after an event. I love taking a shower and switching from hot to cold water to get my energy going.
I’m an introvert! But love deep relationships. I’ve always led groups, teams and experiences and have learned to manage my energy, health and drive. My business model is mostly evergreen except for one major program, meditation and yoga, and fridays are flex days. I design white space into my work and life so I always have time for me or to create, innovate, design, think
Something that really helped me this year to better manage being an Empath/borderline HSP that can probably also be useful and applied to Introversion is to stop identifying with it so intensely, and to really observe, especially in subtle ways, if or how you blame things on it or even use it as a cop out at times. Stop saying things like “I’m an introvert…” or “…because I’m an introvert”. Yes, I understand it’s a real thing, and the struggle gets made more real the more we identify with these things, and embed them even deeper through how we speak and think about them. Especially if we do it from a disempowering place – which I’m not saying you do, but I am saying to observe yourself in case you do and then get busy not doing that so much.
So just to recap, here are 30 top tips for feminine introverts:
- Explain, lovingly, to your family why you need alone time.
- To recharge, a walk outside (with or without dog)
- Regular doses of stillness
- A great song that I love
- A nap
- Turning down the volume
- Walking away from things that seem unappealing
- Read a book
- Relax in an Epsom Salt bath
- Working out
- Quiet commuting — No music, no news, no talking with others on the way to work
- 15 Minute “no talking buffer” after work when you arrive home
- Holding boundaries – saying NO even when you want to say YES simply to preserve your energy.
- Petting or playing with your cat or dog
- Journaling. It helps “unclog the filter” and puts me back in touch with my own voice
- Listening to music
- Time alone in nature
- Time pursuing personal development (online courses, books)
- Go back to hotel room after giving a presentation
- Wearing earplugs or headphones in public
- At larger work events, I just try to find one or two people to chat with, rather than meeting everyone in the room
- Before a big event, spend time figuring out who I want to connect with in advance.
- During a busy day when I’ve had several client calls – I need a solid hour to myself so I can center myself before jumping into family stuff.
- stop identifying with it so intensely
- Design “white space” into your life and work so you have free open thinking/relaxing/daydreaming time
- Breath exercises
- Taking a shower and switching from hot to cold water to get my energy going.
- Transcendental meditation twice a day
- Play, pleasure, sensuality and sexuality can be as healing as quiet alone time.