Protecting Your Solitude
Solitude. You need it, I need it, everyone needs it. But we as introverts crave and celebrate it more than anything in this world.
What is solitude, and why is it so important to protect it? Solitude is what most people call “me-time”, but it is so much more than that to people like me and you. It is the precious opportunity to curl up with a good book, toss on some headphones and get away from the busy-ness of the world (basically, it’s a way to tell everyone to leave us alone so we can breathe!).
In today’s society, there is this crazy thought that everyone needs to be together all the time. But the truth is, we innovate so much better when we take a moment (or two, or three) to ourselves. It took me years to learn how to protect my solitude. And yes, I lost friends and things that I thought were important, but in the end, my quality of life outweighed the stress of trying to be “on” all the time.
In this podcast episode of Kicking & Screaming, I am going to be discussing a few steps you can take to make sure your solitude is well protected and respected, and works out for you in the end.
Know What Drains You
Be specific. It’s not just about “not liking crowds”. It’s deeper than that. Is it really “crowds”, or is it a certain type of situation with certain types of people? If an exhausting outing is unavoidable, manage it with a buffer. Plan out your day so you are productive in those hours leading up to the event. Or give yourself an hour or more to get ready and an hour afterwards to unwind.
Know Your Cycles
I’m not talking about our menstrual cycles or the full moon or Mercury being in retrograde. I am talking about those times where you just want to be left the hell alone. I can usually tell when it’s coming, and this helps me prepare for two whole days to read until my eyes hurt. These 48 hours recharge me, and when that time is over, I am ready to get so much more work done because my head is clear and I am well-rested.
Create a Survival Kit
A survival kit is something that every introvert should have on hand. It can be a few mood-inspired playlists, books, headphones (the universal symbol for go away), comfort food – anything that can help you get through your time of solitude. At the end of the show notes, I will leave a link to a PDF of a list of things you can keep in your survival kit.
Get Your Excuses Ready
I’m not saying that you have to lie. I am saying to be prepared for the fact that some people cannot grasp the concept of “being alone”. You may have to say you are sick, or you have other plans – but prepare a bank of explanations to choose from when you feel a solitude cycle coming on.
Finding allies may be tough, because true friends are far and few between. But these are people that can pick up the slack for you. They are those people that help you around the house, or provide a buffer for those who ask to hang out when you just want to be by yourself. These are the people who understand and will help protect your solitude because they know it is important to you.
Wanting solitude is a real thing, and one that is perfectly normal. I am not saying to drop all work and responsibilities, but if you do follow these steps and find your boundaries, you will find a healthy balance between introvert-ness and the rest of the world.