Most people understand that there are a myriad of factors that affect our health and well-being. Environment, genetics, and access to resources all play a part, but one factor that is often ignored is personality. Our temperament is often considered separate from our health, but the truth is that the two can heavily influence each other.
This is particularly true for introverts. People who prefer their own company or who generally stay away from large social gatherings can experience health and self-care in different ways. If you are an introvert, it’s important to make self-care work for you. And the best news is, not only is it possible, you don’t need to go broke doing it.
What Is an Introvert?
The word “introvert” is often misunderstood. It is taken to mean “shy,” “socially anxious,” or just “awkward.” However, it’s more complex than that. Introverts simply enjoy their own company to that of others, and need time alone to “recharge.” Most don’t hate being around other people, and aren’t particularly socially anxious. Across the general population, people sit on a spectrum of introversion and extroversion.
Being an introvert can affect your health in a number of subtle ways. For instance, introverts may be more likely to be depressed than extroverts, especially if they have grown up in an environment that doesn’t accept their introversion. It’s not just depression, either: according to NewScientist, introverts also appear to have lower immunity than extroverts.
The exact reasons behind these differences are often unclear and complicated. However, the correlation between personality and health does mean that introverts may have to make an extra effort to make sure they are taking care of themselves correctly.
There are quite a few really simple things you can do on a daily basis to make sure your mind and body are at their best. Meditating, reading and spending time outdoors are a few examples, and they don’t need to cost you a dime. Search online or browse your local library’s website for free ebooks for your reading pleasure, and visit your phone’s app store for free apps, like INSIGHTtimer, to guide you through meditation.
Making time for your favorite activities can also boost your overall health. For instance, video game enthusiasts benefit from exercising their brain and blowing off some steam during their gaming sessions. If you’re looking to add to your library on a budget, there are a lot of great free games out there.
Of course, doing what you love needs to be accompanied by healthy eating habits and an exercise plan. Specifically, you should nourish your body with vitamins and minerals, though it’s okay to indulge in your favorite foods from time to time.
In terms of exercise, find a few activities that you enjoy and that you can stick to, whether it’s walking every day, a few weekly yoga or Pilates classes, online workout videos, running or strength training. To enhance motivation, invest in gear and accessories that accentuate your activities. Like new running shoes, a special yoga mat, or even a new fitness band for your smartwatch.
Staying On Top of Your Health
Regular habits are important, but you also need to make sure you are managing your overall health. Above all, make sure you are on top of your healthcare coverage. You also need to ensure you are communicating effectively with your doctor (or dentist). ABC News notes that introverts often receive poor care, partly because they have trouble talking with their doctors. If you really struggle with this, write down your questions and concerns before your appointment, bring a friend, or ask whether you can get clarification via email. Never hide or minimize anything that feels wrong, and don’t be afraid to voice your needs.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with being an introvert. However, we live in a society that tends to favor extroverts, which can make things difficult. Learning to take care of yourself as an introvert is not about fighting your natural disposition; it’s about figuring out ways in which you can make self-care work with it. Accepting that you like to do things a certain way and that it’s genuinely okay is the first step toward creating a healthy lifestyle that works for you. And best of all, it can be done frugally.
Sometimes we can all use additional support to help us navigate the rocky road of life. Through the help of Keli Dean, LMFT of Soulful Relationships Psychotherapy, you can develop and maintain a healthier relationship with yourself, and live a more fulfilling life. Connect with Keli today!