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The topic of being an introvert as an adult — and how it affects everything from career choices and friendships to social lives and self care — has come up quite a bit in conversations lately with our friends and other women in business. We decided to open up the discussion to you so that we can gain your insight on the subject!

Let’s start with the definition of an introvert. According to VeryWellMind.com, introverts are “people who tend to be inward turning, or focused more on internal thoughts, feelings and moods rather than seeking out external stimulation.” This doesn’t mean that an introvert is necessarily shy, just that they prefer fewer interactions with large groups of people. The website explains that introverts use up energy in social situations and need to recharge by spending time alone, unlike extroverts who gain energy in social situations. It’s important to note that you can lean more extroverted or introverted but still have characteristics of the other in certain situations. 

Many industries require extroverted tasks — from team meetings and presentations to interacting with clients and after work events. These can all be beneficial to our careers, but for those of us who lean more introverted, they can also be draining. At the end of the week we find ourselves feeling exhausted not only because of hours worked but also because of how much interacting with people we’ve done. Come Friday evening and all we want is to be in the comfort of our own home with a book or Netflix instead of joining friends for dinner!

Just because you’re an introvert in an extroverted job doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re on the wrong career path, or that you aren’t good at what you do; it just requires a little more effort than for someone who is naturally extroverted. If this sounds like you, read on below for our tips on how to stay motivated and energized while managing a social job!

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Set Aside Quiet Time in the Morning

Some days, the early morning hours are the only time we have to ourselves, so it’s important to take advantage of them. Wake up early and recharge by spending time alone journaling, meditating, or simply sipping a cup of coffee and reading the paper. These early morning moments, before jumping in to a whirlwind work day, can make a huge difference on your mood and outlook at work. 

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Take Time for Nature

If you’re looking for ways to spend your PTO, plan a vacation that is set in a quiet spot surrounded by nature. Visiting a large city is invigorating and inspiring, but for introverts, it can be an energy spend instead of the R&R we really need. In nature we can spend quiet moments to ourselves undistracted by plans and to-do lists, which is the ultimate recharge. During the work week you can embrace nature and a moment alone by taking walks around the block during the day. 

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Say No to Social Activities

If you are around people all day at work and need down time to be the best version of yourself, it’s ok to say no to social invitations. Whether it’s happy hour with co-workers or catching up with a girlfriend over dinner, ask yourself if it’s going to energize you or leave you exhausted. Don’t feel like you need to make up a big excuse — simply just say “another time!”. We of course believe in the importance of nourishing friendships, but your closest friends will understand your need for quiet time in the midst of a busy week.

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Request to Work Remotely

Part of being an introvert is that we often do our best work and think most clearly when we’re alone without distraction. If you relate to this and would love to work outside of the office, schedule a time with your manager to explain your perspective and ask if you could work a day or two a week remotely. Of course this is not possible in every industry (like nursing or teaching). If you work in a career that requires you to be on site, try carving out small breaks during the day to walk around the block and decompress. 

Create a Zen Work Space

If you spend time at a desk each week, try creating a space that provides a sense of zen in the midst of a busy office. A plant or vase of flowers will add a bit of calming nature, and headphones will help block out the background noise. A magazine or book for 10 minute breaks of quiet reflection can help you recharge and stay motivated throughout the day. 

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Exercise 

One of the best ways to spend time alone while also taking care of your physical health is regular exercise. Running, walking, bike riding and yoga are all great solo workouts that will give you time to regroup and think about the day. Check out these 8 easy solo practices that will help you get your steps in during the work day.

Are you an introvert who has an extroverted job? We’d love to hear how you recharge during the week and manage your position in the comments below!

*Today’s post is by HoH team member Kathryn Worsham Humphries. After working in PR and marketing in New York for nearly 5 years, Kathryn followed her Texas roots home to Houston. As a House of Harper team member, Kathryn creates original content, facilitates brand partnerships, and works alongside Caroline to strategize the HoH marketing and editorial calendars. Outside of work she can be found decorating her Houston Heights bungalow house, practicing the art of hygge, and planning trips that revolve around food. She will happily create a dining itinerary for anyone traveling to either New York or Houston.