I met up with a new friend today. I got to the restaurant early, texted her that I’d get us a table, and then waited the ten minutes until she arrived at the previously agreed upon time. When she arrived she laughingly said, “I forgot that you always show up early!” How well she remembers one of my quirks after only meeting up twice since we’ve met!
I am always early. To everything. If I am not ten-fifteen minutes early then I’m late. I get to work early. My boyfriend and I are habitually the first people at the gate waiting for a flight. I have circled city blocks because I arrived really early to an interview, an appointment or what not. I am more often than not, too early. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s a good thing. I’m not always even happy to be that early, like when I arrived so early to a baby shower than I was one of the first people there, and didn’t even know the other early birds. Not an ideal situation for an introvert.
I haven’t fully realized why I have a need to be early for everything. But I think it helps me feel calm and in control when I arrive at my destination. Comfort in knowing I can scope out the environment and get my bearings. I don’t want to feel rushed or panicked because I’m late.
Whatever the reason, it works for me, most of the time. When it doesn’t work, I’ll just be the one sitting by myself, placing a hopefully convincing look on my face that says I’m perfectly comfortable being the first one there.
There is never a dull moment during my work day. From the moment the first child arrives in my classroom to when I leave, there is always some kind of movement or sound occurring. I am always on. When I am at work, I do pretty well at focusing on work, on the children. I am not one to daydream or think about my outside life, unless I’m particularly stressed or have something big going on in my life. Therefore, I have some moments throughout my day that offer me time to recharge my batteries. Moments that give me the peace and quiet that I crave as an introvert.
- I arrive to work at 6:45 to prep for the day and spend a few minutes relaxing with my coffee before I open the school doors at 7:30. As I walk down the stairs to the front door I pause, take a deep breath and say a mantra to myself such as, “Today is going to be a great day.”
- I leisurely walk to the bathroom when I get a bathroom break to take a breather and enjoy the relative quiet of the hallway.
- When I take a sip of water. Seriously. Just those few seconds of taking a drink of water can be a moment of peace for me!
- Sometimes I don’t socialize with my co-workers in the break room during my hour-long break during the children’s nap time. This allows me even more time to myself. At first I thought I would be seen as anti-social, but some days I just need a moment to myself! My co-workers know me enough to know that I’m pretty introverted. I do this particularly during our more stressful or busy days, or if we have a work event or training after the school day.
- When we go outside for a walk or to play I will take a few ,very brief seconds to enjoy my surroundings.
I am sure there are more moments that are so quick or ingrained in my daily life at work that I don’t remember them right now.
Do you carve out moments of peace and quiet during your day?
I’m really good at sticking with a routine. In the morning at least. Wake up at 5 am, get ready, make/eat breakfast, brush teeth, clean the cats’ litter boxes, sit for meditation, go to work.
What I have not always been good at is my night-time routine.
There were always way too many factors going on after work that I could not for the life of me get a good rhythm going to my evening. After trial and error I found what works for me, specifically, a bed time routine. As in, a routine such as the ones I’m sure the families in my classroom have for their children at bedtime. This routine brings me peace after a long day of work, it sets me up for a better tomorrow. It’s reliable and almost comforting at times.
I used to aim to be in bed at 9:00. Then I found Calm. My friend recommended it to me after I told her how both my boyfriend and I are terrible sleepers. I still wake up twice a night (once to pee, the other just because that’s what I’ve alway done). This supplement creates such restful sleep for me. I can now go to bed around 10:00 and wake up in the morning feeling alert. So nice! I have more time to enjoy my evening instead of worrying that it’s getting closer to 9:00 and I haven’t done anything yet.
I also take this supplement, Stress and Mood Support. You are supposed to take two but I only take one. They’re expensive!
While I drink my Calm I start the diffuser in my bedroom, I diffuse two essential oils, Lavender and Cedarwood. Then I get into bed and either do a quick before bed yoga sequence, similar to this one. Or I do a quick breathing exercise (counting my breaths or meditating on the inhale/exhale).
The last major player of my successful bed time is my pillow. I’ve gone through so many awful pillows that lead to neck pain and migraines. Now I use this pillow recommended to me by my chiropractor. I hated it for a week, now I love it. This pillow actually makes me look forward to going to bed, even on a work night.
Do you have any morning or night-time routines that work for you? What does routine bring for you?
I teach in a classroom with three other women. Three out of the four of us would probably call ourselves introverts. Me especially. My newest co-teacher is a self-proclaimed extrovert. Like, big time extrovert; I absolutely love her for it. It is a good balance for our classroom. The four of us have often chatted about our personality differences and our introvert or extrovert tendencies. Us introverts like to go home in the evening and spend time alone to recharge, my extrovert co-teacher gains her energy from people. But all of us agree how exhausting it can be tending to fifteen toddlers every day. One of these particular days that we were actually able to find the time to discuss life and our teaching, my extroverted co-teacher exclaimed “It must be exhausting for you, you’re just pretending to be an extrovert all day!”
Well, true. I mean, I have always been very quiet; during my performance reviews my boss has indeed complimented me on my “calm and quiet manner.” (Ok, she calls me the baby whisperer.) However, I never really thought I was pretending to be an extrovert by constantly being expressive, talking to and engaging with children and keeping up my energy level to be on par with a group of 15 to 30 month old children. That’s just doing my job. Yes, it can be exhausting keeping up with it, and I do feel the need to recharge my batteries with some alone time. I’m ok if my co-teacher calls it pretending to be an extrovert, I’m ok even thinking that myself sometimes. In the end, it caused me to think about how my strengths as an educator and my tendencies as an introvert come together in my work as a preschool teacher.
Hence, here we are. Why I’m writing. To discover why everything I do, think and feel on a daily basis culminates into who I am, both in my personal and working lives.
How about you? Are you an introvert in an extroverted environment? What does that mean for you?