A little known secret, I am an introvert. Oh, I function well in social settings, but the butterflies and uncertainty never quite leave. I have learned to fake it when I can’t feel it, the calm, collected social graces, that is. I prefer my close friends, in small groups, lots of GNOs with pitchers of margaritas and some shared laughter. But I do love to go dancing, and to concerts,, and as a writer, I need to talk to people, hear their stories, it’s not all observation. Does this stress me out? Sure, but I have a few well hidden secrets up my sleeve to help me cope. If any of you identify as introverts, or maybe you’re just painfully shy – read on.
From time to time you are going to feel totally overwhelmed, but there are ways to soothe your stressed-out soul. It isn’t that introverts hate being around other people, but when it mostly they feel safe and comfortable keeping their own counsel. I have a child who suffers terrible shyness, and times of stress, traditional and general advice about how they feel just doesn’t resonate. I’ve put together a short list for all of us introverts, those who can fake being extroverted, and for the ones hiding in the back of the closet, on how to manage times of tension.
First, you must know your limits. There are universal stressors and individual ones. A hurricane warning on the local news may freak out your whole community, everyone clearing the shelves at Publix as if the end of days is coming, but being invited to dinner with friends and strangers may spark the same or worse anxiety in introverts. Using mindfulness and self-reflection to determine just how big our comfort zones extend, can help prepare us for what we consider challenging situations. If stress builds in your daily life, take a good look at what might be causing it and where it’s coming from.
Are you overextended? Try to catch stress-inducing factors before they get completely out of control, and you will have more time to be and live freely instead of using stress managing techniques.
Most important is to know where your sanctuary space is. Create a comfortable place where you feel safe and can meditate or reflect on things in your life. It should be uncluttered, but full of familiar and restful things. Spend time in this sanctuary space. It should be a small niche where you feel completely at home, where you can retreat, regroup, and feel at peace. Sometimes, just putting in headphones with your favorite music can create a space where self healing and relaxation can take place.
Most introverts are fortunate enough to have caring people in their lives who reach out when they see them struggling. Even though you might prefer time alone over going out with your supportive friend, you must learn to communicate this need. Don’t forget to be grateful for the outreach, because your support system is vital to your mental health. Don’t worry too much about declining offers of help, it doesn’t make you unappreciative, especially if your support network knows your fears and moods.
That being said, it can be hard for shy people to feel balance in their social lives. If you reflect and your mindful soul searching self tells you it really would be beneficial to spend time with your peeps, then reach out and make it so. Loneliness can be a real downer and create much unnecessary stress. Make sure you always have opportunities to connect with others when the going gets tough. It is almost as important as having that sanctuary.
Last, but certainly not least, find an outlet. Stressful energy needs to be channeled, it needs a place to go. It sucks to feel like that rubber band stretched to maximum capacity and ready to snap. What are your best ways of releasing the pressure? For me it is all about the prose, or in creating art. For you it might be exercise, grabbing a coffee or a froyo with a confidante, meditation or communing with nature.. Spend some time getting to know yourself and see what effectively relaxes you and releases your stress.
Have any methods that work for you? Feel free to share, and I’ll send peaceful coffee vibes back at you. 💜☕️