Open letter to an introvert

Foggy reflection

Hey there,

How are you? I know most people ask this question without really wanting to hear your answer. But I’m interested. How’s school or work going? Do you have any fun and fulfilling hobbies? I hope things haven’t been too overwhelming for you. I hope you’re getting the quiet time you need.

You’re a pretty interesting person and although not everyone will understand you, that’s okay. Don’t feel pressured to conform to how society thinks you should act. You have a special way of viewing and interacting with the world. You notice the small things others don’t. You have the ability to appreciate the world on a deeper level. This is a gift.

Don’t worry if you need quiet time after a busy day. For an introvert, that’s perfectly normal. There’s nothing wrong with you. People will sometimes accuse you of being rude, snobby, or uncaring. But in reality, we care deeply. It’s hard to articulate the depth of our feelings. How do you voice emotion using mere words?

I want you to know you aren’t alone. I’m cheering for you (quietly on the sidelines) as you face your struggles and grow as an individual. Some may accuse us of being weak, but the truth is the opposite. Having to push through adversity makes us stronger, and living in an extroverted society creates plenty of opportunities for growth. You have so many incredible strengths.

Don’t be afraid to push past your comfort zone, learn new things, and embrace new experiences.  You can always take some alone time afterwards to reflect. Just make sure you have enough energy to enjoy the experiences you’re engaging in. Also, please don’t feel guilty for taking quiet time to recharge. Looking after yourself isn’t selfish.

Looking forward to hearing back from you and I hope you have a great rest of the week!

Take care,
Ally


I also wanted to share a quick update with everyone.

I recently submitted an article to Introvert Dear and it was published today! You can check it out here if you’re interested. I wrote about some of my struggles growing up as a quiet introvert. I was inspired by Lauren, one of the writers I follow on here. Her post is about having ‘Resting Sad Face‘ and I really enjoyed reading it. So go check hers out too!


Image credit: “04-09-08_1” by Steve is licensed under CC by 2.0

5 introvert travel tips

Ireland

I have an upcoming trip to Ireland and Scotland in the next few weeks and I’m so excited. Both countries are part of my heritage and both are on my bucket list. Though I’ve travelled extensively throughout North America, this will be my first foray into international travel.

Knowing how limited my energy is on a daily basis, I wanted to prepare for the trip in advance. Here are a few things I’ll be trying to do. If you have any additional tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them.

1. Schedule quiet time.
As an introvert with limited energy, quiet time is essential. Factor in a busy travel day at the airport filled with security and customs stress, busy corridors full of people, and blaring announcements every few seconds, and quiet becomes even more necessary.There’s the stress of making decisions or having to adjust to last-minute changes or delays. I know how over-stimulated I get when travelling. I will make it a priority to check in with myself periodically and assess how much energy I have. If I’m low on energy, I’ll be proactive about it. I might need to take a bathroom break or escape to a relatively quiet corner of the airport and put my headphones in. I’ll also be keeping myself fuelled with healthy food and water.

2. Do your research.
As an introvert, I need to know what’s going on ahead of time. I thoroughly research flights, accommodations, transportation, and attractions in advance. I look up how to get to/from the airport, nearby restaurants and cafes, grocery store locations, etc. I print and organize my itinerary and write down relevant contact information I might need. By knowing these things ahead of time, it allows me to enjoy the experience as I’m not distracted by the ‘what ifs’. Obviously things can and do change, but I’ve done my part to create a less stressful experience.

3. Bring a journal.
I’m going to take a moment each day to record what I did that day, people I met, and my thoughts and feelings. Writing down any fears, uncertainties, or frustrations can help me process those feelings. Writing down all the good things will help me remember them. I’ll also be bringing my camera and taking photos and video for my friends and family who aren’t able to come. However, as much as I love taking photos, I always make sure to put down the camera for a while and just drink in the experience.

4. Choose your adventure based on your energy.
When it comes to attractions, I’ll typically make two lists. The first is must-see attractions or events. These I will usually schedule into my day. The second list is additional things I can do if I have the energy. But I try to keep things fairly flexible as I don’t know what my energy will be like at any given moment. If I’m already feeling drained, going on that crowded tour probably isn’t wise. Perhaps a nice scenic hike would be a better option.

5. Do little things that make life easier.
If I’m taking a plane, I always try to get an aisle seat. It’s the perfect escape route and you’re not crammed in between two strangers. To make flight transitions easier, I only take carry-on luggage and I don’t check any bags. I also (try to) pack everything a couple of days in advance and prepare lots of healthy snacks the night before. Along with alleviating stress, it also allows me to get a full nights rest. I always bring my headphones, a book, and earplugs (perfect for the flight or to block out noisy roommates).

Do you have any other helpful tips for an introvert abroad?

Image credit: “The Dingle Peninsula” by Giuseppe Milo is licensed under CC by 2.0

Quote of the day

Extroverts may have more going on socially, but we’ve got more going on upstairs. The ‘more’ in the heads of introverts doesn’t refer to more intelligence or creativity, but to the preference for incubating—rather than quickly acting on—thoughts and impressions. The activity centre for introverts is inside, not outside. When an introvert sees an image or hears a question, ideas get tossed around inside while the surface stays calm; an extrovert is more likely to toss out quick impressions and process them out in the open.
-Laurie Helgoe