Why Introverts might love January

Phew, thank goodness that’s over for another year!!

man sitting on green chair near trees and mountain under blue sky at daytime

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I have an INFJ personality type.

It is said that I am the rarest personality type with less than 1% of “me’s” in the World population! I think that’s pretty cool but it does cause problems when I talk about my introversion to my amazing Extroverted friends and family.

If you want to know your type, take the test here

You see, I need to give you a little bit of geek info here for all of you personality type junkies. Although I possess introverted intuition which basically means I live my life in my head (it’s great there!), the “f” in my formation means that I also possess extroverted feelings. Again, to the laymen this means that I like to make people feel at ease and happy so I can appear extremely extroverted. I also morph into the situation I’m in.

For example, at parties, I will appear to be the life and soul but this is short lived as I quickly become exhausted and feel trapped in a World of small talk and exposure.

I can cope with it at work and as I have a job which requires me to be on the same wavelength with many different people, it works well. Also, I get to go home and veg for an hour to process my day and rest my tired brain,

You don’t have to have the same personality type as me to feel this way but many of you (almost 50% have an “I” formation don’t forget) will be identifying with some of what I’m saying.

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Here are 5 signs you’re a strung-out introvert following Christmas…

  1. I feel tired all the time – mental tiredness is different from physical tiredness which we all feel at this time of year. Your brain just can’t seem to get into gear
  2. I feel upset or angry and I don’t know why – agitation with others is a sure sign that your introvert walls have been breached
  3. I feel as if everyone is getting to me – I will often describe this feeling as “fractured” like an eggshell that has been partially broken
  4. I want to be alone all the time – you’ve had enough “people time” you’ve been using your extroverted skills for the last few weeks and you’ve had enough
  5. I don’t feel like myself – you’re not serving the need inside of you to have quiet time. Often returning to work can be another stress, having to be around people and be your work persona

Luckily, there are things that you can do to help you through and soon you’ll be feeling your amazing quietly confident self again…

Own it!

Know that you are more introverted and accept that you actually need to be alone sometimes. This doesn’t mean disappearing on a Buddhist retreat for a month, it simply means accepting that it’s ok to feel as you do and understanding why.

Be Mindfully Alone

By this I mean take time to acknowledge that you are putting time aside to be alone. Even if it’s a walk, a run, a bath or shower; tell yourself “I’m taking this time for me” and enjoy it. You could even try notching up the amount of minutes you’ve taken throughout the day and indulgently look back on them at the end of the day.

Breathe

This is the best way to deal with, well, ANY situation. If you can find your breath and truly be with it, you’re onto a winner. First of all, look at the way you breathe. Stand in front of a mirror and take a deep breath in. Chances are your upper chest will rise and fall as you breathe…

WRONG!!

This is sadly the way too many of us breathe. We are only using our upper torso to breathe which means we’re missing out on essential yummy life giving oxygen.

Do a full BELLY BREATH try and bring the breath to the bottom of your belly so that it inflates when you breathe. If you don’t know what I mean, watch a baby or an animal breathe, they’re so much better at it!

adorable baby beanie bonnet

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Once you have the hang of this, breathe in fully for a count of 6, hold for a count of 6, breathe out for a count of 6 and hold for a count of 6.

Repeat this for around 1 and a half minutes. you’ll probably feel a bit dizzy (that’s the oxygen) but you’ll be energised and that’s another 1 and a half minutes just for you! you can do it anytime, anywhere.

Don’t be Afraid to say No

I’m rubbish at this, always have been –  and even now as I try an explain myself to my nearest an dearest I get blank looks. I choose to remember how much better I feel when I serve my self and my needs. I become the best version of me!

Hopefully, you will have found something to like about this blog. If, however, you’re reading it thinking “What is she talking about?” you’re probably one of the other amazing 50% of the World who are extroverts.

Extroverts! I salute you!

Introverts! I salute you!

Ambiverts! I salute you! (that’s a whole other story!)

Remember to be aware, but most of all, be kind, after all we are all needed to make the World go around.

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If you liked this article, here are some more you might be interested in…

What just happened?

It’s INFJ day!

The Ultimate Four Letter Word

Why Introverts especially love a snow day – How Teenagers can survive school

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The Ultimate Four Letter Word

How can four letters make such a difference? I’m talking, of course, about personality types

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Of all the subjects I write and talk about in my work this seems to rank up there with attracting the most attention, and rightly so.

Finding your personality type can be super interesting (of course how interested you are depends on your personality type!). It can also explain a lot about why some people get on like a house on fire and others can’t stand the site of each other.

Go on then… take the test… I know you can’t wait. Read more about your type by entering your four special letters here

So, now you’ve scratched that itch, I’d love you to let me know what your type is, you can either comment below or go to my Facebook Page (don’t forget to hit “Like”) and let me know what you are. If you’re interested, I’m an INFJ

More recently, I’ve been starting to work with personality types with my students who love to find out their type and what it means for them. It also helps them to navigate the World of school, relationships, parents, but most of all themselves.

I love to bring relief to an Introverted Intuitive about the reasons why they feel overwhelmed and like to escape school and just need time alone at the end of the day. It’s also great to see young adults sharing their type with friends and finding out each others’ types.

I plan to continue my work with young adults in helping them use this tool to help them along their way a little bit and to help them develop empathy for others purely by understanding that we are all different.

Look out for some real life stories from young adults who have shared this journey.

I’d love to hear your views on this so please leave a comment below or contact me via Facebook  (please “like” my page) or Twitter (please follow me)

It’s Always the Quiet ones…

Focus on what’s NOT being said by teenagers

During my first aid training (many years ago!), the first thing we learned was that if faced with multiple casualties; we check the quiet ones first. They are the ones who may not be breathing or conscious. If someone can shout, they’re alive.

I was inspired to write this blog by my nail technician (she’s also a friend and a very amazing businesswoman! as well as being an ESFJ). Her son is due to start high school next September and like many parents, she’s worried. Will he suddenly morph from her blue eyed angel into a dirty, drug addicted, self harming, bully?

Of course, nothing is guaranteed in life, but we can take an educated guess. His parents are both business people and both accomplished in their chosen fields BUT, their overriding mantra above all else is FAMILY COMES FIRST! both of their children are taught that hard work pays off but that love and support underpin everything that can make a person successful. Sounds like the perfect combination…but

As parents you should always be vigilant of what your child is NOT telling you. Tales of dramatic events in school, like in life; always make the headlines. Thankfully, the reason for this is that they are rare. So, stories about so and so telling a teacher to f**k off or someone self harming because their boyfriend cheated on them do not define a school or, indeed, a high school experience.

What can define these experiences are hurtful comments made by others, a broken friendship, a bad relationship with a teacher or even the child’s personality type.

For example, if my friend’s son is an extrovert like her, the chances are he will enjoy the busy hustle and bustle of school more so than if he is an introvert which could leave him exhausted at the end of the day and in need of some alone time to re-charge.

So, what do we do as parents then? the only thing we can do…

Trust – in ourselves that we have done the best job we could

Trust – in our children and let them have the space to learn and make mistakes like we did

Listen – to ourselves. We are the best judge of how our child is doing. Look for changes in behaviour which are outside the realms of stroppy teenage angst.

Listen – to our children. Follow these tips

  1. Don’t judge – you were there once
  2. Don’t interrogate – try doing an activity together or talk in the car to avoid intense eye contact, they’ll just switch off
  3. Ask them what they want you to do. It may be nothing, they may just want to talk. If you let them, they’ll do it again.
  4. Respect their wishes – this is one of the biggest complaints from teenagers. they are human and deserve respect just like we do

Hang in there! You can do it! And so can they!

For more info or advice please contact me

Why Introverts especially love a snow day – How Teenagers can survive school

pexels-photo-834976.jpegAs most of the teenagers around the country enjoy a snow day or two this week thanks to “The Beast from the East” and “Storm Emma”, the time away from the school environment may be especially valuable to more introverted types. I work with many teenagers for who the school day is a painful toil which leaves them limping along throughout the day just waiting to get home and have some alone time.

What is an Introvert?

Many young adults will answer this question by saying, someone who doesn’t like being with people, is shy, a bit weird and doesn’t have any friends. As an introvert myself, I would hope that my closest friends and family would disagree with this statement. you see, it’s all a matter of degrees. Let me explain.

Whether one is an introvert or an extrovert is not black and white. I like to see it as a sliding scale. If the most introverted person was at point 0 and the most extroverted at 100 you can see that there are all the points in between and that hovering around the 40-60 mark are where many of us sit.

pexels-photo-196652.jpegTo help us understand which category we fall into, we have to explore what makes someone introverted rather than extroverted. The main difference is in the way they process information from the World. An extrovert processes information from external sources and communicate in this way also. They will enjoy talking to lots of people for prolonged periods of time and will thrive on the interaction they get. The more time they spend with others, the more energised they become because they are communicating in their preferred way. For example, an extrovert will always be the one who complains that the party ended too soon as they were only just warming up.

pexels-photo-268013.jpegThe introvert, on the other hand, processes their World internally. Information is taken in and stays in the head whist it is being processed which can take a while. Whilst these processes are going on the head of the introvert, they will be busy but this may not necessarily be apparent to the extrovert. The introvert may be quiet and not as sociable. they may become irritated by noise or extra interaction. once this point is reached, the introvert will indeed need time to refresh their batteries. This is done by having time alone and withdrawing from the World for a while. (Yummy!)

Myths include…

Introverts don’t like being around people – wrong! Introverts love people but also love time alone

Extroverts never need a break from people – wrong! even the most extroverted person needs some down time, it’s just that it’s for a shorter period of time.

Introverts are boring – I’m not even going to dignify that with an answer!!!

Extroverts are annoying – Wrong! they just love being with people and this comes across when they get the chance to interact.

You can find out lots more about Introverts and Extroverts here…

www.quietrev.com

Introvert or Extrovert Test

The difference between Introverts and Extroverts

Tips for Introverts in an Extroverted environment

  • Don’t be afraid to talk to friends and family about how you feel
  • Take the test with friends – it’s fun but can also help you to understand each other, you’ll be surprised at how many others are introverted
  • Be mindful of your alone time – be conscious that you are having some time alone to recharge and don’t be tempted to give it up
  • Seek out a quiet place at school – often schools will offer quiet rooms or libraries where you can go at lunchtime or break
  • Don’t assume that because you are introverted you will always feel that school is too much, make time to enjoy it too and join clubs or groups which interest you as this will help too

Enjoy your snow day!!

Mindfulness – What is it?

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One of my best friends (I only have two, I’m an INFJ personality type remember!) asked me recently to do a turn at one of her charity events which she has based around wellbeing to raise money for her village hall and surrounding playing fields.

“Can you do some of your Mindfulness stuff and guide visitors through a meditation? Oh and by the way, just tell them what mindfulness actually is!”

It occurred to me that, although this word gets a lot of attention, people don’t really understand what it is. So here you go…a little bit of info.

The mindfulness movement has gained popularity in the last couple of years as a popular self help tool and one which can be of use to many people, especially young adults who’s brains are like little sponges and are quicker to adapt.

That doesn’t mean us over 16’s shouldn’t bother though, it just might take us a bit longer to get into it, but believe me, it’s well worth the effort.

Mindfulness has roots in some ancient Eastern meditation traditions – don’t worry! it doesn’t require us to train for years in a monastery and take a vow of silence. Mindfulness is indeed easily adapted into modern living, hence it’s popularity.

So, what is it? I found this the easiest definition courtesy of Gina Beigel, MA, LMFT who designed and developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for Teens program which I have studied and use often in my role as a school counsellor.

“Mindfulness is noticing your thoughts feelings and physical sensations in the present moment”

So, basically it’s about taking a moment to just, well, be in the moment. Often mindfulness practice for beginners can include mindful eating or mindfully taking a shower. this would include using all 5 of your senses to undertake these tasks. These practices work well because they take everyday occurrences that we tend to move through on autopilot and encourage us to experience them as a whole.

So why bother? I already know how to eat and how to shower!

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This is the bit that fascinates me (I know! I’m a geek!). Recent research featured on the BeMindful website tells us that mindfulness practice has shown itself to be as effective if not more so than standard treatments such as anti-depressants. Great news for our amazing grey matter which once again seems to outdo even the cleverest medical innovations! And its free! And there are no side effects!

Actually, there are side effects which include, better ability to sleep, increased sense of well being, reduction in stress or anxiety levels.

It seems that slowing down our thinking and concentrating on a a visual cue, a sound or our breathing; is a bit like when we exercise our muscles at the gym and the more we do it, the fitter we get. Now that sounds like my kind of exercise!

So why not give it a try, next time you are having a shower, try this…

  1. What can you see?
  2. What can you hear?
  3. What can you smell?
  4. What can you taste?
  5. What can you touch?

Try it with other everyday activities like walking the dog or eating your lunch. See it as special time with your most important companion…your Brain!