Over on my personal blog, I’ve shared about anxiety briefly. For me it’s often tied to my introversion and the exhausted (or anticipation of exhaustion). Today’s post doesn’t come with tips, advice or even a solution really. I like to share stories or experiences like this to let others know that they’re not alone! I’ve modified a past post (one that I posted here a few months ago) to allow the conversation to start here at Considering You!

For most of my life I have felt a certain anxiety. As a kid, it was often prompted while I was away from home. School and sleepovers generally brought out a sense of nausea and I was told that I probably just got homesick a lot. Sure I loved my mom but I felt it as a freshman in college. I was READY to be on my own. I feel it now as an adult. It’s usually brought on when I’m travelling to visit friends and family (never when I’m traveling alone with my husband) and lately it’s been happening in my own house. That’s when I got confused. How I can I feel “homesick” when I’m in my own house with Adam and Desh?

And that’s when I started making the connection. The anxiety is brought on when I know or anticipate that I will not be getting any (or much) alone time. It was the most amazing breakthrough.

  • School for 8 hours as a kid? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
  • Attending a sleepover? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
  • Visiting a big group of friends? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)
  • Hosting visitors in our own home? No alone time. (Unless I hide in the bathroom.)

Okay the bathroom thing was kind of a joke (or not). I have been known to sit in a bathroom stall for 5 minutes to regain a little strength. I’m an introvert and being around people is draining. Not because the people I surround myself with are annoying, exhausting or loud. It’s just not how I get energized. I get energized by being alone. Silent. No talking. Doing what I want.

It’s really hard to admit. It feels selfish, rude and arrogant. It’s even hard for me to realize just how much of an introvert I am. Before spending large amounts of constant time with people – I feel tired or overwhelmed just at the thought. But once I’m with them? I’m usually really flexible, pleasant and hospitable. I’m not a hermit or mute – just an introvert.

So what are some ways that I protect that alone time?

  • I try to go to bed earlier than I normally would. I’m a night owl and can stay up until 4am daily but usually only on days where I’m alone or working. If I’m traveling or have company – I’d rather go to sleep at 10pm.
  • I try to run errands by myself, write emails or listen to music on my earbuds throughout the day to put space between me and other people. It probably won’t last more than an hour but it feels like sacred time.
  • I trust and rely on my husband more than I realize. He’s my buffer, he understands me and I honestly never feel exhausted by his presence.
  • I’m really intentional with my time. I schedule meetings towards the end of the work day (I need the morning/afternoon to be productive since meetings tend to pull energy out quickly).
  • Journaling has become something that is very sacred for me. Whether I’m venting, documenting or praying…it has been lovely.

At the end of the day, I just need to be more comfortable with admitting all of this to people when necessary. I have a fear of offending people and I never want them to think it’s their fault. Just like extroverts need special care – people like me do too!

Do you struggle with anxiety? Are you an extrovert or an introvert? How do you take care of yourself day-to-day?

5 replies to this post
  1. I loved this post and agree with you about the time thing!! I have so much anxiety but it has been getting better lately. Limiting the days I work is a huge help!

  2. This is true for me as well. I appreciate you sharing what works for you and being honest about your feelings. I crave alone time so much now that I have two little ones who don’t nap anymore. I never knew people could drain me so much, but having an awareness of this has helped me set up my days differently. The challenge now is how to meet my extroverted children’s needs without ruining my day.

    Don’t you wish there was a better smelling place to recharge than the bathroom?

  3. Speaking as the biggest introvert I know, trust me, you’re not alone in this. Try to help yourself realize that there’s nothing wrong, bad, shamefull, or selfish about being an introvert though. Roughly half the population are introverts actually! Our American society values extrovertedness more than introvertedness, but that still doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with needing alone time. It’s just as important for your mental health as a party is for an extrovert. Trust me on this, you will be able to be your better self to those around you if you allow yourself the space and time to rejunivate yourself. While a lot of people (extroverts) gain energy and refreshedness from being around people… you gain it from being alone. There’s nothing wrong with that and you don’t need to try to change it. Embrace it!

  4. This entire post felt like you were reading my mind. How similar our experiences are. I feel anxious and slightly suffocated when I do not have time by myself to just have a quiet, uninterrupted thought. I find that driving with the radio loud helps me. I don’t really have a destination, but I just go. Kansas is good for that, and it makes me feel whole again.

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