A Social Introvert’s Way of Coping with Stress

My day begins at 3:30 a.m., Monday thru Friday and usually by 5 a.m. on the weekends. As you might imagine I’m the first one up in our home. I’m even up before our 2 little pet birds. By waking up so early, I am able to ease into my day, be on a relaxed schedule; without feeling pressured to be at work in a rushed manner. I have plenty of time to ready myself, enjoy my morning coffee, and work on things that I love and enjoy such as my styling business. This starts my day off feeling rested, relaxed, and happy.

 

My IT work environment is different from working at home; in a silent, relaxed space. There are a lot of people there, but to an introvert like myself, anything over 5 people is a lot of people. I consider myself a kind of ‘social introvert’ if you will; one who enjoys human interaction very much but at the end of the day a lot of people interactions leaves me feeling quite exhausted. Even more so on those days when the standard interruptions get interrupted several times over in a compounded fashion. When this high-intensity environment is left internally unmanaged for too long, I don’t think as clearly and my best ‘self’ isn’t present. These are my signs of unmanaged stress:

 

  • Extended periods of time feeling flustered and frustrated
  • Exhausted – the over caffeinated feeling like jittery and wiped out
  • Short with responses, a bit snappy (I’m sorry. This one makes me feel bad.)
  • Anxious feelings
  • Creative or ‘not-so-creative’ avoidance
  • Overreaction to situations
  • Failed ability to focus on the task at hand
  • Disjointed thoughts
  • Neck muscle pain or lock-up
  • Discontent and angst

 

From my unmanaged stress signs, I notice that my environment will start to match. For example, my desk will become cluttered when it would normally be very tidy and clean. I will have stacks of stuff that I wouldn’t normally have, displayed in multiple places. My car will start collecting stuff too. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Then I’ll buy more stuff because I think the additional stuff will somehow fix problems or help me accomplish my goals. The reality though, is that I’m not dealing with my internal angst at this point. Bad news. The following is a list of ways to maintain sanity and help get sanity back on track:

 

  • Find a quiet place to work for a while
  • Use headphones to listen to relaxing music
  • Watch a relaxing video
  • Declutter and clean work space
  • Touch and place each item in ‘stuff piles’ in their appropriate place
  • Zone out for a few minutes
  • Meditate – make a conscious effort to focus on breathing, not a problem
  • Pray – give thanks, ask for forgiveness, ask for help
  • Made-up, on-the-fly 30-minute yoga practice – just do what feels good
  • Make to-do lists and check off completed tasks
  • Start the day 1-2 hours before everyone else, at home and at work
  • Be solitary at lunch time
  • Listen to an audio book
  • Use heating pads to soothe muscles
  • Ask, answer, and write responses to: What’s bothering me? What is making me feel scared or discontent? What will I try to fix or change this? If that fails, what will I try next?

 

I would be interested in knowing if you consider yourself an introvert or extrovert and what techniques you use for coping with stress. Please comment, share and like if you found value in this message today.

 

 

One thought on “A Social Introvert’s Way of Coping with Stress

  1. Hi Jen. Nice piece. I consider myself a social introvert as well. Most people see an extrovert. You are right on the money. Social interactions eventually lead me a need for alone time. I have found a job that requires travel gives me just that. I lose the ability to keep track of activities when stressed and things can start getting overlooked. Like you, I do lists and try to also note what I accomplished during a day as well since those lists never seem to get shorter.

    Liked by 1 person

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