Monday, August 27, 2007

A Word about Self Care for Introverts

Robin's last blog entry was a veritable feast of fabulous promotion and marketing info-- wow! Graci, Robin, and thank you, Cynthia Leitich Smith. You girls got it going on!

While we are digesting it all, I thought you might indulge me in a a few words slightly off-topic. Not so much about promoting your work, but very important to your well-being, and as such, our collective survival as introverted creativists, writers, artists.

If you haven't yet gotten your 2008 edition of The Introvert's Guide to Self-Care & Sanity in a World at Maximum Volume, allow me to share some intel from mine. (Okay, I just made this whole book up, but someone should write it, for god's sake.)

So, we're just going to continue and pretend I got all these tips from The Introvert's Guide, okay?

Tip #1: If you work in an office with others, and have an empty chair near your desk, get rid of it! Or, stack it high with papers or projects. It discourages others from hanging around your desk too long. Introverts work better without a lot of interruptions. If you work at home and have family and friends that can't seem to respect your work time, keep a basket of unfolded laundry next to you, or maybe an errand list. When your interrupters arrive, give them work to do. They'll stop dropping buy as often. This one comes with my personal guarantee.

Tip #2: You absolutely don't have to say yes to every social invitation you get. Truly. If you do, you are begging for a melt-down, and that's just never pretty. Pick the kind of events that work best for you-- time-limited ones during the day vs. night, or maybe ones centered around an activity like bowling, movies or mud wrestling, and not just endless hours of the dreaded Small Talk.

Tip #3: If you ever end up being held hostage on an airplane next to an rabid extravert who won't stop talking, and they don't seem put off by you putting on headphones, how about trying this? Start talking non-stop to them about any senseless thing that comes to your mind. If you run out of things to say, make them listen to you read out loud long excerpts from a fascinating article from the in-flight magazine. Some extraverts are looking for introverts to charge upon-- if they mistake you for another Chatzilla, chances are they'll be pulling their little pillow out and closing their eyes soon.

Tip #4: Honor and celebrate the quiet, low volume, solitary activities that you love and need. They aren't non-activities, and they aren't a sign of your stunted social development. Sitting by yourself listening to quiet music or no music and just watching the shadows move across the walls is as valid an activity as a Dodger's Game with your entire family. It's even cheaper, easier on the environment, and kinder on your HDL, too.

Tip #5: Be or find this kind of party host: The B-E-S-T party I ever went to was given by this marvelous, madly extraverted woman. The party was spread out over several rooms at a club and included a talent show (I know! I almost fled screaming), wild dancing and a lot of talking/drinking/people talking really LOUDLY. At this point you're wondering why this was the best party I ever went to? This amazing host had set aside an Introverts Room! It was a quiet, slightly darkened room with a fireplace, snacks set out, softer music, and reading material. There were several of us that were in there. I loved it.

Got tips? If you'd like to see one of your survival tips published in my made-up 2008 Introvert's Guide send them on to Hey, Mary, I've got a good one!. There will be prizes, of course!

Later, friends! I'm off to re-charge my battery. :-)


Linda D. (sbk) said...

I love all your suggestions! Some of those are bound to help me through this last week before school starts. I'm just about losing my mind! (I share the computer room with the kids... need I say more?)

jama said...

Thanks for these tips, Mary. Also appreciate the reassurances contained therein. There is always a guilt factor going against the flow.

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

If you work in an office with others, as in Tip #1, don't take your vacation days the same days as everyone else. Work is much less stressful the day after Thanksgiving, the week between Christmas and New Year's, and the Friday before a holiday weekend when the halls are empty and you can hear yourself think.

Mary Hershey said...

Thanks, Liquidambar, for your tip! You're in the running. I have always enjoyed being at work the day after Thanksgiving when the whole world is shopping. You're right!


Mary Hershey said...

From to hear from you, thanks for stopping by.

Jama, think salmon and swim UPstream! Guilt-free. . . it's what you were meant to do.

Linda, want me to mail you some of my unfolded laundry for your kids?

Claim yer space, Vi and Vinnies!


Linda D. (sbk) said...

haha, Mary. Trust me. I have plenty of my own! Just this morning I taught my 11 year old son how to fold shirts ... how did he get to be that old and NOT know how?

See? Your advice has already helped me. :)

Anonymous said...

I don't have a tip and you may have already highlighted it in an older post but...there's a great book out there called "The Introvert Advantage" by Marti Laney. Lots of good advice about how to manage extroversion in the inner, work, social, family, and love partnership worlds. Plus she has lots of reassurance that introversion is a really, really great thing!

I re-read my copy every few months and gain new insights to deal with either current situations or my personal twists on introversion (i.e. she says there is such a thing as a verbal introvert... someone who has quick verbal access to thoughts thereby giving the appearance of an extrovert but actually not; this can piss off others and confuse oneself...which explains a lot, lol!).

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post, Mary. I just wrote about it on my own blog - because I was so affected by it.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Jen!

Thanks for the nice feedback. Glad to hear that it hit home for you.


Bkbuds said...

I came here via Jen Robinson's blog. Many thanks for sticking up for us introverts. May I add a piece of advice for Mommies? Don't join Mommy groups. They are made up of Type A's who don't bat an eye when their mini-me terrorizes your introverted offspring. Part of that whole Darwinism thing they think they have in their favor.

My favorite introverted Mommy-child activities: going to playgrounds during school hours, when there's nobody to push your kid off the jungle gym. Walks on the beach in the morning, so you both can say hello to the dog walkers, who only stand in one place long enough for a quick tail wag. Grocery shopping in midweek when there are no pissy singletons annoyed b/c you're pushing -- gawd forbid -- a stroller down the aisles. Plus you can hog all the free samples.

I realize this has nothing to do with marketing. Sorry.

Mary Hershey said...

Hi, Anne--

Thanks for coming by! In my next life, I want you for my mom. I dreaded the noisy playground as a kid.

No apologies needed about being off topic. We talk about life, too.

Mary Hershey

R.L. LaFevers said...

I've been trying to leave a comment for the last two days but kept getting Blogger errors.

Anne, ABSOLUTELY feel free to leave Mommy advice! Gawd knows introvert issues are not limited to marketing!

Saints and Spinners said...

Anne L.-- I wish I'd had you on my side when I was a new mom. I joined a PEPS (new mother's group), and that was okay, but then I had pressure to join other mommy groups like "Listening Mothers" and the like. I was so tired of getting together with other mothers where the only thing we had in common was that we were... new mothers. Four years later, I've finally found a few moms who might be interested in jamming on the guitar, but it was a long time coming.

Anonymous said...

Realize I'm five years late to the conversation, but I LOVE the party introvert-room idea! Seems obvious in hindsight, but brilliant ideas often do. Thanks!