5 Stress Management Tips for Introverts

BY Katie Medlock TIMEAugust 30, 2016 PRINT

Feeling stressed? Why don’t you grab some friends and head out on the town? See a live concert? If any or all of these suggestions provoke some anxiety or a strong reaction of “nope,” you might identify as an introvert. Just like extroverts we feel overwhelmed from time to time, but the best ways of soothing our stressed-out souls may be very, very different.

It’s not that introverts dislike being around people, but when it comes to where we feel most safe and comfortable, it is usually in our own company. In times of stress, some traditional pieces of advice to be around people or open up widely about how we are feeling just doesn’t resonate. That is why introverts may need their own guidelines on how to manage times of tension.

1. Spend Time in Your Sanctuary Space

If there is one thing I’ve found most introverts to have in common it is having a space that feels like sanctuary. A niche where someone feels completely at home. This may be somewhere in your home or a special spot elsewhere in the world, but it is important for every person to have an identified spot where they can retreat and feel at peace. If your environment isn’t entirely conducive, even putting in headphones with your favorite music can create a space for healing to take place. 

2. Communicate When You Need Time Alone

If we are fortunate enough to have caring people in our lives who reach out when we are struggling we can sometimes find ourselves in a pickle. We may prefer time by ourselves instead of going out for coffee with our supportive friend. Finding a way to communicate this need, while also being grateful for the outreach, is vital to our mental wellbeing. The alternative is feeling even more stressed out. Despite how it may feel, it doesn’t make us a bad or unappreciative friend to decline an offer.


Making sure we have opportunities to connect with other people when going through a hardship is just as important as having a place to retreat. (Unsplash)

3. Recognize When You Do Need Others’ Support

With that being said, it can be hard for introverts to feel balanced in their social lives. If some soul searching tells you it really would be helpful to spend time with your people, then reach out and make it happen. Just like anyone else, loneliness can creep in and wreak havoc—if we let it. Making sure we have opportunities to connect with other people when going through a hardship is just as important as having a place to retreat.

4. Fine Tune Your Expressive Outlets

Stressful energy needs to go somewhere. No one likes feeling like a bottle of shaken soda, ready to burst. So, ask yourself: what are your preferred methods of releasing pressure? For some it is creating art, music or the written word. For others it may be exercise, confiding in someone close, spiritual practices or connecting with the natural world. Spend some time getting to know yourself and what releases pressure in healthy and effective ways.


(Samantha Sophia/Unsplash)
(Samantha Sophia/Unsplash)

5. Know Your Limits

There are both universal stressors and individual ones. A tornado warning may freak everyone out, but being invited to dinner with co-workers may spark anxiety in just some people. Using hindsight and self-reflection on how far our comfort zones extend can help us feel prepared when facing challenging circumstances.

If stress is beginning to build in your daily life, take a close look at where it might originate. Are you stretching yourself too thin in some area of your life? Are you missing out on a vital piece of self-care? Try to catch stress-inducing factors before they get out of hand and you will not have to use your stress management techniques as much.

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