Oliver & I were sitting in this small park in Berkeley on our honeymoon, sharing a delicious lunch from this french take-out place around the corner when we started talking about how tired we were. It wasn’t exactly the exhausted energy that comes from having an adventurous day, it was more of a people tired. We had spent every waking moment together since we said “I do,” and we started to notice how tired it was trying to entertain the other constantly.
You see, Oliver & I are introverts. If you haven’t heard of this term before, an introvert is someone who gains energy when being by themselves. Extroverts, as I’m sure you can guess, gain their energy when they are interacting with others. Since we had spent every moment together, our energy level felt a bit drained. It was then that we decided to take two hours and have introvert time. We gave each other a kiss goodbye, then Oliver packed up his stuff and took a walk by himself around Berkeley. I plopped myself a coffee shop and took the opportunity to journal.
It sounds sad, especially since we were on our honeymoon, but when we reconnected two hours later we realized how life-giving that time apart was for us and decided that taking time by ourselves was actually a very healthy thing for our relationship. Sure, I think others may disagree based on their own relationship, but at that moment we felt the incredible healing that came with having introvert time. Why? Because after taking that time to regain our energy, we were able to enjoy the rest of our time together throughout the honeymoon.
Now I think this can easily relate to people who aren’t in relationships as well. If you’re an introvert like us, then you may also experience this pressure to constantly be around people. I know I sometimes feel guilty being myself for too long, thinking that I’m “wasting my life” and I should “go out there and live it.” In reality, that time by myself is regaining much-needed energy to be around people later, and it’s usually spent doing something productive - like taking time to write, design, blog, or even read.
So introverts, here's some reasons to how to take more time for yourself, and why taking having introvert time is actually healthy for your relationships with loved ones:
Pick a spot at home, or in your neighborhood, for dedicated “me” time
I love going to Steeplechase Coffee, this cute coffee shop around the corner from our apartment. The coffee is cheap, and I love watching the different kinds of people from my neighborhood come in and out of the shop. Since I dedicated that spot as one of my go-to places for introvert time, it has turned into this serene place of rest, which for me always results in a burst of creative energy.
Set an allotted time
When Oliver & I took time apart on our honeymoon, we decided on two hours. It was long enough to explore and do something on our own, but still gave us a majority of the day together afterwards. When I take time for myself I always give it two hours, and usually do this on a weekly basis. I set that time in my calendar each week, and it’s always something I look forward to.
Limit yourself to only doing activities that boost your energy.
Although Netflix seems like a great idea, turns out that taking two extra hours to watch TV during your introvert time won’t actually rejuvenate your tired spirit. Instead, limit yourself to a few activities to do during your introvert time that you know will help bring you peace, rest, and joy. Some examples of what I like to do is taking a walk and listening to a new album, reading in a park, drinking coffee and writing (usually blog entries, sometimes short stories), or playing around with new drawings or graphics in my sketch book.
Taking time for yourself means treating those you love with better care!
This is probably the most important reason to why introvert time is key in any relationship, marriage or even friendship. Introverts need introvert time, and if you aren’t taking the time to regain your energy then you won’t be coming to friends or family with a rejuvenated and joyful you. When Oliver & I don’t take time for ourselves, we notice how easy it is to bicker, snap at each other with hurtful comments, or even fight over insignificant things. There’s healing in taking time for yourself, and that healing will seep into the important relationships around you.