Introvert Energy Drain Rule Number Two – Make Time and Space for Solitude
The need for solitude in order to process, recharge and relax is fundamental for introverts. However, an introvert who is unaware of their true nature or who is not mindful of their own needs may not ensure that they get to spend enough time alone in order to stay healthy and happy. Due to the demands of a busy life, especially in a modern city, an introvert may fill up their day with tasks and duties that bring them constantly into contact with others. In the short-term, the introvert unhappily finds that they have no energy left to themselves at the end of a busy day during which they were surrounded by people at every step. In the long-term, the introvert finds that they are trapped in an exhausting cycle of never-ending work and meaningless chatter, which runs their state of wellbeing and health into the ground.
It also happens that an introvert may have little choice but to be surrounded by people all day long. A good example of this is one’s school years. During my own school years, I remember feeling constantly tired. All day long, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., we were herded around the school to different lessons where we were often expected to work in groups, which is more taxing energetically than independent learning for introverts. Only as I reflect now, knowing about my introversion and how I feel when constantly being around people and having to interact with them, can I understand why I found the experience of school so draining and tiring to me: I was being forced to conform to a system built for extroverts five days out of seven.
In some family environments, it seems impossible for introverts to get the physical space and peace they need in order to stay balanced at home. This is because some families live in crowded or noisy conditions, and there may be nowhere for the introvert to retreat to. In these circumstances, the introvert must find a sanctuary of sorts. They need to find a private space where they can be themselves without the pressure of social interaction. This space could be a room of the house that the introvert uses when nobody is around (for example the living room, while others are sleeping), or it could be in a quiet public space, such as a library.
As long as the introvert has the freedom and ability to go out alone, nature is an introvert’s best friend. Going for a walk in nature, preferably alone or with a quiet friend, is one of the best ways that introverts can recharge their batteries. For this reason, a local park can make a wonderful sanctuary to any introvert who lives in a busy and noisy household. By retreating to their sanctuary, the introvert finds strength and inner peace.
It is also worth noting that culture plays a role in how much time we get to spend alone. From travelling to different parts of the world and observing and reflecting on the experience, in many cultures it is not considered socially acceptable to spend time alone, especially for women. In these counties, which are known as high context cultures, people are strongly conditioned to constantly be around other people and those who do spend time alone may be perceived as odd. In such situations, introverts who do not have a strong will struggle because they are forced to conform to an extrovert’s way of life. I have also reflected that people who grew up strongly conditioned to be around people all the time often harbour within them a distrust of introverts whom they perceive to be transgressive. This can leave introverts who have been culturally conditioned to behave like extroverts in an impossible bind where they feel pressurised to be around people constantly, even though within them their inner voice yearns for more quiet time and solitude.