This is for the introverts, the extroverts, the ambiverts, and all the verts in between who crave a little alone time.
It wasn’t until I began to simplify my life, and create more time for solo-walks, long writing sessions, and other quiet, thoughtful things that I realized I was an introvert. I love connecting with other humans, but I need them all to go away for a little while every day too.
Introverts may need more alone time or room to create a happy heart, but extroverts need some heart soothing too. Instead of working to the point of burn-out, take time each day to be still, quiet and thoughtful.
Yesterday after I posted the image above on Instagram with the caption, “I adore spending time with people I love but the only way I can really show up for them, engage, and connect is by spending time alone. You too?” a kind soul commented, “This is definitely me, but I have such a hard time taking time for myself! I usually feel guilty. Any tips?” Her question inspired this article because I know if she’s feeling guilty for craving time alone, you might be too.
Guilt-free Introverting: a roadmap to alone time
Explore the guilt.
When I feel bad or guilty about something I write it down. I write all my thoughts and feelings on paper so I can really examine what’s going on instead of letting my mind get carried away. Write it down and ask the following questions,
- How can I feel guilty for taking care of myself?
- Why don’t I trust people enough to let them know what I need?
- If a friend needed alone time, would I fault them for it or support them?
Leave your guilt on paper and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. Remember that you aren’t just serving yourself, but everyone around you.
Tell people what you need.
“I need some time to be alone.” doesn’t mean “I don’t want to spend time with you.” It means, “I want to take care of myself so I can enjoy the time we spend together.” Don’t apologize for asking for what you need. Let people know if you need some time to yourself or would rather stay home while they go out. Ask what fuels them too. Let’s support each other in living our best lives even if we don’t always understand or take care in the same way.
Simplicity soothes the heart of an introvert in the following ways:
- Simplicity creates time for long walks into solitude.
- Simplicity gives you permission to create boundaries.
- Simplicity provides more clarity which results in less distraction.
- Simplicity invites you to pay attention to what matters most, and let the rest go.
- Simplicity contributes to a good night of sleep.
- Simplicity allows you to be present and connect with loved ones.
- Simplicity can give you more freedom to search for the work that becomes you.
- Simplicity gives you the awareness to listen to what your body, heart, and soul need to thrive.
- Simplicity reminds you that you don’t need to prove anything anymore. You are enough.
- Simplicity is the way back to love. By simplifying your life, and eliminating things that don’t matter, you will find your way back to people you love, a life you love, and work you love.
Be alone together.
Even though my husband is an extrovert, when we hike together, I have space to process thoughts and we can be alone together. You can hang out with someone you love and read or do other things alone together. If you have young children, think about activities that will keep them engaged while you take a little time for yourself even if you are all in the same room.
Identify your sanctuaries.
Choose a few places where you love to be alone and recharge and identify a few emergency getaway spots too. For instance, you may love to sit on a park bench and read for the afternoon but if you only have a few minutes, a closet or bathroom may be the perfect place for a few deep breaths. Your sanctuary may not be a location, but an activity like knitting, writing, or hiking. These are sacred places to go and fill your heart.
If you struggle to protect your time, use one or more of these 10 simple ways to help you say no.
Read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain and follow Introvert Dear. Surround yourself with people who make you feel less alone in wanting to be alone.
Build a reserve.
Don’t wait until you are completely peopled out to take time to refuel. Take a little time each day to walk alone, write, read or whatever you need to build a reserve of calm and comfort. Then you can show all the way up for the people you love.
There’s no time for guilt about who we are and what we need to best love up our people.