I recently read the book Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Typically when I read something that gets all the wires in my head crackling and popping, my entire world starts being seen through its lens; this book was no exception.
Most people close to me would say I’m extroverted, but the truth is, I’ve worked hard to become this way. This book made me question just how much I’ve conformed and molded because of the ‘extroverted ideal’ and which introverted aspects of myself I haven’t allowed space for.
I knew I was in trouble when my husband sweetly asked what time I would be home from Spin class, and I burst into tears because the mental math required to answer his question seemed cruel and unjust. Suffice to say, I was feeling very overwhelmed, and it was taking a lot less than normal to weigh me down.
I’ve been described, rather diplomatically, as having “a bias toward action.” From age 12-22, my most valuable possession was my agenda… and it wasn’t being used to keep track of all the super cool parties I was definitely invited to. I scheduled every free moment and I wasn’t able to turn off the organizing, regimented part of my brain. It was a struggle because I always felt pressure to be doing or achieving something, and I felt guilty when I wasn’t maximizing my time. Trying to relax was actually a stressful experience. Then I took a giant chill pill, just like everyone told me to do, and I was cured! Just kidding. The changes have been super gradual, but I have learned how to relax. Below I’ve shared five self-care practices that have helped me discover the art of relaxation.