Right now I feel like there is a time limit on how long I can be around other people. When I’m done work, I’m ready to go home, put on some comfy pants and relax. Let me explain; usually I describe myself as an extrovert. I am very comfortable around groups and I love the company of others. However, I have learned that one of the ways to overcome my anxiety is to become introverted when I am especially anxious. Confused? Check out the comic below for an explanation of how extroverts and introverts recharge differently:
Image courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/16/understanding-introverts-_n_5989656.html
So extroverts generally get their energy from spending time with people and introverts get their energy by spending time alone. One of the quirks of my anxiety is that I switch from extrovert to introvert. Actually, one of the ways I can tell if I’m becoming too anxious is when my time with people saps my energy. If I come out of a meeting or a social engagement feeling sluggish and cranky, I know I’m struggling with my anxiety. When I can’t wait to get home after a long day and enjoy the quiet of my house, I know I’ve had a high-stress day or week… or month. In these situations recharging alone is exactly what I need. I need that time to rest and reflect.
I used to see this need to be alone as a weakness. I tied any introverted tendencies I had to my anxiety and made it part of my illness. I thought I had to be extroverted to be happy. I’m starting to discover that this just isn’t true. I actually kind of like being alone. I can do whatever I want. No one is putting demands on me. My time by myself feels like a decadent treat. Plus I’m married to an introvert, so he really digs this time where we can enjoy our time without constantly having to “do something” together.
Image courtesy of http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/10-comics-that-perfectly-sum-up-what-its-like-to-be-an-introvert_55c3adcfe4b0f1cbf1e429cc
This approach may not be for everyone but it’s working for me. Hey extroverts, we get tired too! Maybe try letting your brain do its own thing for a little while. Try not being “on” for a change. You might just like it.