The biggest difference between introverts and extroverts is that extroverts gain energy from social interaction, whereas we gain energy from alone time. I like to compare myself to a cell phone. Throughout the day, I lose my charge and the more interaction I have, the quicker my battery drains. You know when you’ve been using your phone a lot and suddenly the “battery critically low” message pops up? That’s me on days where a lot is going on or I go out after work without a break in between. Although, my “battery critically low” warning usually appears in the form of me being irritable, feeling drained or finding myself cowering in a corner with my hands over my ears, muttering, “shut up, shut up, shut up!” to myself.
Plugging in the charger
Getting into a quiet environment and being by myself is the only way to my battery so I don’t lose power completely. Most days are calm enough, and I’m still at about 30% when I get home, so any alone time is enough. But here are some of best ways I’ve found to calm my nerves and rest my brain.
- Sinking into a hot bath
Does anything beat a hot bath? I make a ritual of it by adding bubble bath, epsom salts to rejuvenate my body, a scented bath bomb (Lush can be an introvert’s best friend) to rejuvenate my senses and a good book to rejuvenate my mind.
The 2015 fad of adult colouring books turned out to be a great one for me. I can put all of my focus onto something monotonous, quiet and completely mindless. I let my mind wander while I fill in the white space.
- Tuning in
A tried and true method, tuning in to a good show or settling down for a movie is the quick and dirty way to instant relaxation. Netflix has been a godsend for the socially disinclined.
The ultimate recharge
A few years ago, I decided to try something when I was living in the UK, because there was a Groupon for it: an isolation float tank. Since that day, I’ve had a secret weapon in my pocket for a complete and total recharge.
Initially, the idea of climbing into a pod that looked like something out of a sci fi movie, shutting the lid and lying in the dark seemed a bit…creepy. But these tanks, filled with water and enough salt to make you float completely weightless, are big containers of bliss.
I’m not claustrophobic at all. In fact, I find small spaces cozy and comforting. But I’ll admit had a hard time closing the pod’s lid at first. And it wasn’t until halfway through my first one hour session that I was able to turn off the light inside the tank. Once I got over the initial weirdness of it all, I relaxed and enjoyed the solitude. By my second session, I was hooked.
A few years later, back in Toronto, I was delighted to find out that H2O Float Spa was opening just up the road from my home.
Shutting the whole world off
At H2O, you have the option of choosing an open concept float, which is like a giant saltwater bath, or a float pod. For an introvert like me, choosing the sensory deprivation of the pod is a no brainer. That’s exactly why I opt not to have music played and turn off the light inside the pod as soon as I get in.
The water in the tank is heated to the temperature of the average body and it doesn’t take long before I find myself completely unsure what parts of my body are under water and what parts aren’t. But what if you fall asleep? Won’t you drown? The salt content of the water is comparable to that of the Dead Sea. It’s pretty tough to move without bouncing back to the surface and darn near impossible to drown.
Once I settle and the the water becomes still, I simply let my mind go. I can’t see or hear or smell or feel anything– it’s almost like floating in space. At first, it was difficult to shut off the constant flow of thoughts, but as with any meditation, I learned to let the thoughts come and go without focusing on any one of them. I completely disconnect for an hour and when I emerge, it’s like I’ve got a shiny new battery.