An Introvert’s Guide to Sheltering at Home: 7 Things to Do to Stay Sane

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In a time of social distancing and sheltering at home, you’d think that introverts are in a position to thrive. Some people are struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation. But when the entire family is spending every hour of the day in one living space, the constant stimulation can be a recipe for introversion-insanity.

Introverts are their best selves in moments of quiet solitude. Studies show that periods of solitude could lead to relaxation and reduced stress when individuals actively choose to be alone. This doesn’t mean that they dislike being social, but they need a balance of time alone and time with others.

As an introvert myself, the moments when I feel the most at peace, energized and creative are when I’m alone and able to “think straight.” I feel the healthiest when I spend plenty of time in quiet reflection. This doesn’t mean that I dislike family time and social gatherings. I just need calm and subdued experiences to help me regain energy and balance.

So what’s it like being an introvert in a house with young, rambunctious kids and an extrovert husband? Well, it can be a challenge. In an effort to keep my sanity and retain productivity, I’ve been engaging in several solo activities each day and It’s been helping tremendously.

7 Things An Introvert Can Do to Stay Sane While Sheltering at Home

1. Wake Up Early

Your morning routine will set the tone for your day. That’s exactly why I wake up before anyone else in the house and relish in some quiet time.

Pour yourself a cup of coffee or make your morning juice, maybe spend some time meditating or practicing mindfulness, practice 20 minutes of yoga and set goals for your day. Waking up early allows you to begin your day gently, on your terms.

2. Take Solo Walks Outdoors

There’s little more relaxing and energizing than a quiet walk outdoors. Sweden knows this well — in fact, reports show that 41 percent of Sweden’s municipalities include quiet areas in an effort to ensure people access to quietness and its associated health benefits. In some areas, sounds of nature are added to quiet zones to enhance the visitor’s experience.

A walk outside, even if it’s only 20–30 minutes, is an excellent way to calm the mind, rebuild energy and avoid becoming too sedentary, which has mental (and physical) health implications of its own.

3. Build an “Introvert Cave” or Space

Okay, this might sound a little silly, but the point is to designate a quiet space with some boundaries. This can be a cozy home office, reading nook in the living room, spot at the kitchen table — really anywhere that serves as a symbol to family members that you’re working or in need of alone time.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a little break, head to your introvert space, even if its only for a 20 minute break. For this to really work, though, it’s important to communicate your needs. The fam needs to understand that when you’re in this space, it means that you’re temporarily off limits.

4. Foster Meaningful Relationships

Research suggests that the quality of social relationships influence the happiness of introverts. It’s not that introverts don’t like being social at all. They actually thrive in smaller settings with a few close friends or companions.

Introverts should prioritize fostering meaningful relationships because these connections support their mental and emotional health. This can be done with a phone call, letter, text message or email.

Nurturing your connection to your spouse, loved one or children is also important. If you do best in more controlled settings, try playing a board game with family members, watching a movie together or going on a group hike outdoors.

5. Cook Alone

Alone time in the kitchen, preparing a healthy meal, can be very therapeutic. Not only is this a moment of solitude, as other family members are off playing, watching a movie or catching the last bit of sunlight for the day, you can unwind in the kitchen while preparing dinner.

A study published in Health Education and Behavior found that finding benefits to cooking, beyond nutrition, may be helpful in increasing motivation and frequency of cooking. In other words, when you use this time to create a calm, enjoyable place, you’re increasing the likelihood that you’ll want to cook for your family every night.

6. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in Sleep Medicine Reviews concludes that taking a warm shower or bath at night improves self-rated sleep quality and sleep efficiency. It also significantly shortened the time it takes to fall asleep.

In addition to these sleep-promoting benefits of bathing in warm water, it’s also an excellent way to spend time in a quiet, relaxing and uplifting environment.

Want to take it one step further? Use this Homemade Bubble Bath with lavender and chamomile or simply add a few drops of lavender oil to your shampoo and massage it into your scalp. You’ll be feeling completely relaxed in no time.

7. Get Into Bed Early

I get into bed at least an hour before I plan to go to sleep. This is the ultimate quiet, relaxing and unwinding time. It’s time to read a book, meditate, listen to music or even watch an uplifting show.

You can even take it a step further and create a super cozy place, bring in some comfy pillows and blankets, diffuse your favorite essential oil (like lavender, chamomile, bergamot or frankincense) and dim the lights.

At this time, you should try not to use your phone, check in on social media, or watch programs that are upsetting or negative. You want to create a calming environment that will lead to restful sleep and an energized morning.

Final Thoughts

  • If you’re an introvert, sheltering at home with your family can take a toll. To keep your sanity and maintain a positive environment, practice a few solo, calming habits each day.
  • Making these activities part of your routine will help you to restore balance and make the very best of this time with family.

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