It’s 3 pm on a Thursday. The office lights are shining too bright, and my coworker’s perfume is too strong, making my nose itch. I have a terrible headache, and I’m starving, but I still have one hour left at work. We’re in the middle of a weekly meeting, and I do my best to participate, but all I want is to go home and lay down and not talk to anyone for at least a few hours. I can feel my energy decreasing by the minute, I’m so tired.
I wish that were an exaggeration, but that’s how I feel as an introvert when social interactions take the best of me. I like to think I’ve improved as I get older, but I have days when I need a long pick-me-up after being with people. That’s when I use my Introvert’s Survival Kit.
An introvert’s survival kit
I was reading Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung, and I fell in love with the illustrations of her life as an introvert. She described exactly how I feel, and I related so much to all the situations she illustrated. I enjoyed her book, but what most captured my attention was her introvert’s survival kit because I also have one, and I thought it’d be fun to create my own version.
My survival kit is a collection of things that help me recover after a long day of socialising. I rely on them to make me feel better and help recharge my overstimulated introverted mind.
Earl Grey tea (decaf) – I only started drinking tea three years ago, but now I don’t think I could go without it. It has become a part of my identity. When I get home after work, I put the kettle on, and everything gets better. If it’s been a particularly tough day, I make hot chocolate with vegan marshmallows.
A good book or a comfort film – These are my plans for the night, paired with a salty snack. I usually stick to 90s and early 2000s movies and mystery novels. I go back to films I’ve loved since I was a kid, like Practical Magic, Legally Blonde and Clueless. Popcorn with melted butter on top can bring anyone back to life.
Cosy blanket – I need to cover my whole body with a blanket, literally shielding myself from the outside world. I always feel better after that.
A comfortable reading nook – While tea and a blanket help, you need the perfect spot to recharge, whether a cosy armchair or a comfy sofa, a good reading nook makes all the difference.
Candles – A reading nook isn’t complete without a few scented candles to light up the mood. Pumpkin spice is my favourite, obviously, but I also like something soft and sweet like cinnamon.
Oversized jumper – It’s hard to understand how a piece of clothing can yield such power. But there’s nothing better than a warm, oversized jumper, extra points if you’ve had it for a long time. Even in the summer, I like to keep my jumper in the reading nook in case I need it.
Nature walks – Some days, no matter how tired I feel, what I really need is to be surrounded by trees. A long walk in the park usually does the trick.
That’s all I have in my kit. Over the years, I’ve come to learn what makes me feel better and what situations are too much for my brain to handle, though sometimes I have to go through them anyway. It’s hard to get out of activities I don’t want to do, but it helps to know I have a comfort film and a box of popcorn waiting for me at home.
I really enjoyed Debbie Tung’s book. I love her illustration style and sense of humour. I can’t wait to read the rest of her collection.