Introverted reader seeks ideas on how to recharge

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A reader submitted the following question – how can an introvert recharge when she finally has some time to herself from a social job and social obligations on some weekends?

Sometimes I’m caught up in weekend after weekend of (fun) social obligations. Normally I can manage my somewhat social job just fine, but during these times it just adds to the steady energy drain. I can get so drained that I can’t even think of ways to recharge and then tend to watch hours of TV. One or two shows seems to be fine, but anymore than that seems to drain me further.

It would be so helpful to see a list of how other introverts recharge. Also, does anyone else find more than an hour or two of TV a drain?

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32 Comments

  1. I can certainly empathize regarding the weekends you don’t get much of a break from being social and always “on.” Although we’d love to plan our lives so that we have a nice break between major activities, real life doesn’t always work that way since brides and other occasion-initiators don’t always ask us what would be a good day to plan something ;) and we may find ourselves ending a weekend feeling even more drained than we did at the end of the work week.

    I get my best recharge by relaxing in my own home, if possible, and I’ve even gotten up a bit early sometimes to ensure I get that time to relax before rushing off somewhere else. Reading an absorbing book, creating some art, playing with pets, riding a horse or bike (ALONE), anything you love to do can be a great recharge. Maybe hours of TV is too passive an experience to give you that nice recharged feeling? It’s still bombarding your eyes and ears, although it’s easy to just sit there and take it in so outwardly it seems relaxing. Anyone else have some good recharging ideas?

  2. When I’ve had too much people, my first impulse is to take a book and get away, lock myself in my room for a while. I desperately *need* a book when I’ve had too much stimulation.
    I’ll watch TV, too, but I’m always doing something else at the same time, some sewing or some jewelry making, something that occupies the parts of my brain that the story on TV isn’t occupying. I can’t just sit there and watch TV. Drives me crazy. Even when I go to a movie I take a notebook to scrawl down (in very messy handwriting in the dark) my thoughts on what’s going on.
    But I also find that a nice, meandering, observational jaunt on my bike or through the woods or around a lovely part of town is very refreshing. I take my camera and maybe a notebook and wander slowly around looking intently at things and taking pictures of them. It’s quite delicious.

  3. Long time reader, first time poster. Love the site by the way.

    Over the years, I found what I call my Introvert Recharge Ratio. 1 hour of ‘socializing’ (more than 3 people for any extended period of time) means I need at least 4 hours of recharge time, sometimes more. Other times I may have very intense work related activities that are twice as draining (like presentations in front of hundreds of people). There’s obviously some fluctuation in times, but as a general rule it’s worked wonders. If I don’t adhere to that 4 hour recharge time (say if I cut my recharge time down to 2 hours) I would find myself getting wound up, still feeling very drained, or just be really grumpy the next day (and that’s no fun for anyone).

    I’d say I’m on the higher-end of that window, but then everyone is different. Now that’s 4 hours of continuous recharge time, by myself! It’ll be different for everyone, but it’s all about you for this recharge. Like @cb wrote, there’s a variety of things to do. Flexibility and understanding your own recharge requirements is key here. It took me 10 years to figure out my recharge routines, and what works best for me.

    For me personally, TV is *way* too over stimulating (but a perfect movie, if the mood strikes me would suffice). If I want to stare at a wall, I’ll stare at a wall. If I sit in the backyard for 4 hours staring at the trees, I’ll do that too. I might go for a long drive, if the weather is nice, and the roads aren’t too busy. Exercise is a good to combine when possible. Meditation helps greatly for times when I’m just too darned pooped to move. These are usually snap decisions too, a spontaneous reaction — if I think too hard on what to do, I’ll probably just end up in the basement on the computer (lol!), brooding over that all night!

    I make sure to turn off my phone (allowing only emergency stuff, both work and personal), turn off the home phones (I’m happy with my doors and windows, and could do without the cold calls), and try to keep the noise down. I work in IT, so I’m constantly around fans, noise, beeps, boops and the constant rattle of keyboards and clicks. Some nights I may recharge by playing an online game or two, or surfing, but it’s normally very low key stuff — sound off, or with music. And, it’s always just me, and with limited external interrupts (like someone else watching TV loudly in the next room). I have a basement office, and that’s my recharge place 90% of the time. Selfish as it may be, it’s really hard to recharge with someone else close by. It’s a bit Jekyll and Hyde, but without it everyone would see Hyde ;D

    Most importantly, I’ve made the point to explain this to those closest to me. Some folks have a hard time understanding why someone would need so much recharge time, but that’s the other part of introverts — we’re good conversationalists when we need to be! Some folks won’t get it, at all, but at least they know it’s important that this happen for you, and you really do need it at times. Hope that helps!

  4. I definitely find TV exhausting. So much of it is too mindless and not very engaging. I also have never been someone who can sit still very long. I guess I have the jimmy leg or something. I do enjoy TV but only a little at a time so I’m picky as to what I watch.

    Recharging for me is playing with my dog, reading a good book, yoga, taking a walk or riding my bike in a meandering style without a real destination.

    • Then again, sometimes “mindless” is just what we need. :-)

      Spouse and I watch series on DVD. No commercials. No guessing. No timetables. And we can adjust the energy required to fit how we feel that evening.

  5. I asked the original question and have found some great advice in these posts. I never considered that TV could be overstimulating, but I can definitely see that now. No wonder more than a couple hours can make me feel worse rather than better.

    I love to read and write/journal, so perhaps doing those things combined with a nice relaxing walk outside would be a perfect way to really recharge when I’m that drained, as well as even just after a day of work.

    • Writing definitely helps me too. I love creating a minute analysis in my journal of various things in the day that affected me, whether for good or for bad. Helps me process precisely what’s going on, so if I’m in a bad mood from something, I don’t take it out on people around me.

  6. TV can be pretty stimulating, especially today’s faster-paced shows. If I want to ‘veg’, I’m more inclined to look up old shows on Netflix, especially sitcoms or comedy movies; light-hearted humor seems to be most relaxing. I’ll even watch old favorites that I’ve seen multiple times; since I know what happens, they don’t demand my full attention, and it’s ok if my mind wanders or I doze off. (Sleep never hurts either.)
    Aaron B.´s last post ..Chick Report, Day 32

  7. Social obligations are a choice. The more you choose them the less time you will have to recharge. Simply learn to say NO. You can do that very tactfully by stating “I am booked” and then book the time in your calendar as “quiet or me time”.

    Onto passing the time. Instead of watching TV try downloading your shows on the internet, not only can you save the cost of cable every month but you eliminate the ads, which bombard with excessive info. That overstimulation is what tires you out.

    Ah…to pass the time. A good walk will give you exercise and oxygen, helping keep you refreshed. Try it in nature. Reading, though seemingly tiring is a good way to get yourself to sleep and stimulate the mind. Passing the time learning a new instrument is also a very good way to relax. It is never too late to learn anything.

    You choose. You know the things you are passionate about. If you don’t, take some time to find out because doing those things will give you energy and not drain it. Sometimes it just takes a fresh environment or approach…good that you are looking at changing things up a little.
    simply stephen´s last post ..4 basic qualitites to help you overcome yourself

  8. I am retired now, so life is much easier for me, at least as far as being an introvert goes. My daughter and her family are on the other side of the country. I have not always been a patient/good/typical grandmother to my grandchildren. Locally I have a loving but VERY hyper/extroverted sister who often leaves me exhausted. I enjoy her but afterwards look forward to my “me” time. I get incredible calming comfort from my cat. I have always had pets – dogs, cats, fish, etc. Right now it is just 1 cat. I sit in my favorite chair in the living room with my sleeping cat in my lap. I may have the TV on and/or something to read, but the time flies as it is so relaxing and I am happy as a clam.

  9. No, watching TV never drains me, it’s actually what I spend most of my time doing. Music is my savior! That’s what I mostly do when I need to recharge. Another thing I do that helps me recharge is take a little cat nap. I’m going to start taking yoga to help me relax and help with my anxiety. I’ve heard it really works.

  10. I like the idea of scheduling ‘me time’ after saying no to another request for my time. Another thing I do is take a nap but no later than 3pm or it will mess with my sleep that night. It’s amazing what 15-30 minutes of putting your feet up can do.

    I also have always had a dog around. My current buddy however has a very needy personality, and although I love the little guy he can be exhausting. Now that I’m living on my own however it’s much easier to deal with.

    Thank you all for the wonderful ideas.

  11. I don’t think napping or just slacking would recharge you. Try to make yourself comfortable by having something to divert your attention with aside from watching the television. Do you have a pet or something? Or like a plant that you can take care of? If you think that having animals at home is such a hassle then try to grow a bonsai tree plant. It might help.

  12. I take a Monday off work then I make a point of turning my phone off or making it clear to everyone I am not going to be able to see them at the weekend (I call this warning off the potential pests).

    After work on Friday I stay up as late as I can, I am talking 5-6am here, sometimes later. From then I will then go to bed and sleep all day, I like to do this more in winter when it gets dark early so I can get up when its dark.

    I get up very late afternoon and have a blinds closed, I make a point of not looking outside until the world is asleep, I like looking out into the sky at night when the world seems to be asleep for 15 min or so. I then “live at night” until I go back to work on Tuesday.

    I know people will think I will be tired on Tuesday when I need to get up as I will be off sleep pattern but it works for me, it makes me feel like me again – I dont even mind been around people for a few days when I get back to work!
    danika´s last post ..spy on text messages

  13. Reading a book, cleaning the house, going to the spa, and playing video/online games. I consider myself an introvert and that’s how I recharge after a week-long mingle with people and “socializing” :)

  14. Hmmm.. I don’t consider myself an introvert but I have some activities that I enjoy doing alone. Most of them are related to beauty and relaxation – like a trip to the parlor and a full body massage. During a bad weather, my introvert past time is watching my KPOP idols :)

    • Ya know Mike that is an excellent way of relieving the stress. After years of long daily walks, tai chi and/or yoga and a massage every other week I stopped after moving quite a distance. This year has been increasingly stressful. Recently I have been walking and biking again, but I really need to find the right masseuse for me and start that up again. I’m going to start calling around and asking friends today. Thanks!

  15. This may seem like an odd question, but does anyone experience a kind of visual/brain overload using a laptop or any LCD screen? I would like to get a B&N nook tablet but am concerned it would be exhausting for my eyes and too much info (visual, intense color, movement and so on). I have spent a lot of time at Barnes and Noble looking at these things and have concerns. I don’t read much on my laptop because my eyes and brain get tired. reading a traditional book is fine.

    Does anyone out there own a nook color or nook tablet? Do you find it exhausting to read on it?

    • Hi, Delere. I would recommend that you hold off on getting a Nook. I don’t have one, but will be getting one sometime in the next 6 months because I love to read. Second-hand book stores are going the way of the dinosaurs. But if you have problems looking at a screen, I would recommend sticking with the paper books. Have you ever had your eyes checked? I go to an eye doctor at least once a year. I see okay, not great, and I had to have cataract surgery. I do not drive at night unless absolutely necessary. However, I have read books on my iPad and loved it except for it being heavier and less portable than I’d like. That’s why I’d like the cheapest, lightest Nook because I could put it in my pocketbook and read while out at lunch. I love the idea of being able to enlarge the font size and the back-lit screen. Wait until after Christmas and maybe a friend or relative will have gotten a Nook and can let you try it out. Good luck to you but I hope you have discussed this with a good eye doctor.

  16. Hi Bobbie,
    I used to get my eyes checked every year like clockwork until I lost my vision and dental insurance. About 2 years ago I did go get my eyes checked after a 3-4 year absence. He said I wasn’t ready for prescription glasses but +1.00 readers from the drug store would cover what I needed. Otherwise my eyes were fine. I’ve recently bumped up to +1.50.
    I think I would do fine with the basic $99 nook. When l looked at it at length changing the font to something more simple than Times New Roman I found it just as easy to read than paper books if not more so.
    One thing I’ve noticed recently (after finally getting my laptop hooked up to my secondary monitor/tv is that I can read easier on the new monitor than the older laptop. So I think some of my problem with the nook color and nook tablet is the LCD screen. I would love to see one with the reduced glare film on the screen to see if that helps, but Barnes & Noble didn’t have one to view. Changing the font and background color of the pages did help however.
    Ultimately I would like to get a tablet for two reasons. One being it can handle audio books, and two I would be able to use any wifi to do the majority of surfing I do without having to lug my laptop around. Then I could drop my Internet service and that would pay for the nook in 6-8 months.

    I will check with friends to see if anyone has a nook with an anti glare film. Thank you for your suggestions Bobbie.

    When it’s all said and done, I’m not in any hurry. The nooks will be around a while

  17. I love reading, playing with my cat and dog, surfing the ‘net, listening to music, cooking, walking. I love to just sit on my porch or in the yard in the early morning with my coffee and the newspaper. I find coloring to be very relaxing too. They have adult coloring books believe it or not. :) I love to look through my cookbooks and think of dishes to make. All of these activities are very re-charging/relaxing to me. I’m not a big TV person, but I have a few favorite shows that I like to watch.

    During the workweek I get tired of being around people so I love to go to lunch by myself most days. Long walks, window shopping or wandering around a bookstore recharge me for the rest of the workday.

    Mental health days are priceless to me. I’ll take a random day off work to just be alone all day. It’s great. I sleep in, read in bed, sit outside, watch movies whatever. Then I usually cook a great dinner to enjoy with my husband when he gets home from work.

    I love my friends and family, I love to go out and have fun but I need time alone. Like I need air or water. My friends and family are great because they know me. :) I avoid needy people like the plague. I just can’t stand needy, clingy, pushy people. I find the internet a godsend because it allows me to email/facebook to keep in touch without having to have long phone conversations. I don’t like the phone!!

    Being married can be a challenge, but my husband is introverted to and likes to do his own thing at times. I miss being single sometimes when I could get home on a Friday and not leave the house or talk to another person til Monday!

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  19. I currently have a very noisy neighbour who works evenings and comes home during the night. It’s maddening and keeping me from sleeping well. I can’t recharge properly and the worrying about it also drains energy. Ugh

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