I almost constantly feel nervous.
It's not as horrible as it sounds, though. Instead it's more like a low-level current that runs through me almost constantly. Because I have this hum of energy that vibrates through me and drives most everything I do, I probably appear more extroverted than I am.
Take speaking in crowds, for instance. I hate it, as lots of people do, but that low-level nervous energy of mine is so great that I'll force myself to make a self depreciating joke or speak first in a meeting, just to get my inner self out there. It's partly because of my fear that if I don't say something quickly or do something to make everyone feel comfortable, I may not say anything at all.
That energy – the one that keeps my brain constantly ticking, thinking, analyzing, creating – it drives me, pushes me to work harder, meet people, tackle that next project – and it, obviously, makes me who I am. But it can be tiring. Other introverts, those of us with sensitive and active minds that require greater periods of rest, will understand.
All of this is fine and good on an everyday level, but when it comes to special days – holidays and vacations – it can be difficult. Spend a day touring a city with a group friends, attend a series of highly-social activities, or even change your diet for a few weeks, and those energy levels can start to slip.
Luckily, as this creature of habit and homebody with a true love for travel has learned, there are ways to maintain that energy in a healthy and sane way when you're off your routine. This allows you to keep up that big energy throughout long work days, and travel successfully with friends and family alike.
Here's how it's done:
1. When possible, surround yourself with people who "get" you
There's a saying that traveling with someone for a few days will teach you more about that person than knowing them for several years. I'd say that's true, and while finding yourself in the (often professional) situation of traveling through a new city or country with strangers can be a very positive thing, when at all possible try to travel with people who know and "get" you. People who understand that after five hours of tourist-ing, you may need to be alone in your room with a book for an hour-ish.
If the people with you on a vacation or holiday "get" your energy levels, they'll know and understand that you just need some time alone, thanks. No misunderstandings, no hurt feelings.
2. Take an abbreviated time out
Let's say you're visiting friends or family, or are just in the middle of a very long, taxing work day and you don't quite have the ability to go sit alone and let your brain breathe. Instead, find activities and rituals that will help you "recharge" your batteries even on a micro-level. For example, put on headphones and listen to music that chills you out, or maybe walk to a nearby coffee shop and grab a tea. Do something that will take you outside of your element, even for a moment, and you'll feel better.
3. Go to bed early
Don't feel the need to "take advantage" of your holiday or vacation by staying up late if that doesn't feel good for you. If you're socially or physically drained, let yourself slink off to bed to read, write, or think. Stretch, light a candle, and just hang. It'll make all the difference in the world and give you the energy needed to get you through that next day of socializing or travel.
4. Stick to a routine
Perhaps most importantly, hold on to your routine for dear life – on holidays, vacations, and even on the weekends. Eat the same foods when you can, and when you travel bring your favorite sweats or comfy socks – anything that makes you feel yourself and grounded on the outside will help to do the same to your mind on the inside. I promise.
Any thoughts on maintaining energy when you're out of your element? It's not easy for any of us, and especially not for introverts. Tips and shared experiences are always welcome!