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The Introvert Lifestyle

Do you Hygge? Why introverts are already experts

Home Comforts, The Introvert Lifestyle

Once again, introverts are showing the world they are ahead of the curve. Hot on the heels of the unnecessarily glamorized I’m-so-busy-I’m-exhausted-and-therefore-more-important-than-you era, there is Hygge.

2016 has been the year of Hygge, and with the US election likely to be a massive talking point over the holidays, we could all do with adopting Hygge immediately. You know, for sanity’s sake.

If you’re not familiar with Hygge, here is a useful video.

Introverts will already know this – we have long championed the psychological and physical benefits of a quiet, cozy, thoughtful life. We just didn’t know it had a Scandinavian name.

If Hygge can teach non-introverts anything it’s the sense of calm and complete comfort that awaits when you mindfully combine soft furnishings, a glass of wine, wool sweaters, and a fireplace you can gaze thoughtfully into.

Introverts are more likely to consciously appreciate the pleasures derived from simple comforts that others might miss. We love being home, in a quiet space of our own creation. 

Already expert introvert practitioners of Hygge take it to the next level. Not content with flannel pajamas, these Hyggers splash out on silk and cashmere ‘bed suits’. No ordinary scented candles for these guys either. Why would you when you can Hygge with a Fornasetti La Chiave Nero Diffusing Sphere?

If you have Hygge-d for some time now, you may no longer be content with pumpkin-spice flavored beverages, but prefer to sip Ladaurée Cocoa direct from Paris. You may also choose to slip your feet into a beautiful pair of Sanay1313 faux fur-trimmed velvet slippers.

Hygge-ing is not only for the home, workplaces are also getting Hygge makeovers. Sofas, squishy armchairs, and candles are making their way into the modern office. We’re not quite at the wearing-a-onesie-to-work stage but who knows? It could happen.

If it sounds like I’m making fun of Hygge, I’m really not. It’s just that we introverts already had this one in the bag.

Over to you! How do you Hygge? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Is this the perfect phone for introverts?

The Introvert Lifestyle

Would introverts flock towards a phone that is just that – a phone? No texting ability, no wifi or Bluetooth? A phone so stripped back it is the size of a credit card?

I stumbled on The Light Phone recently (while surfing the internet on my smartphone using wifi) and it immediately got me thinking. Not all introverts hate making and receiving phone calls but many introverts seemingly prefer texting to talking. From what I understand The Light Phone is designed so you can leave your smartphone at home and forward your calls to this second phone. In the promotional literature, it says the phone is designed to be your ‘phone away from phone’ and enables contact ‘without unwanted rings, dings or pings.’

On face value, that sounds wonderful.

My relationship with all of the smartphones I have had over the years has evolved to the point where I feel we have an understanding. I make it clear where my boundaries are, and my smartphone ‘respects’ them.

For example, I have no notifications set except for texts and calls. I learned the hard way that constant alerts combined with espresso are a one-way ticket to introvert hell. The notifications had to go.

I do, however, appreciate the convenience of a smartphone. My calendar is always available, I can quickly keep tabs on my various social media accounts, and take a damn good photo at a moment’s notice.

The thing is, I simply pick up the damn thing way too much. This is something most people can relate to. Most of the time it’s to perform a function I simply didn’t need or want to do ten years ago. My smartphone has, in this sense, dictated proceedings.

If I had a phone that was just that – a phone, I would certainly be picking it up a whole lot less. I rarely talk to anyone on the phone as it is. Even with close family, we text each other.

If I was out and about and I didn’t have my smartphone I would have to do something else with my hands and my mind. I would probably write in a notebook, listen to music on the iPod I would have to dredge up from the bottom of a storage box. I could also simply sit, people-watch, and think.

Isn’t this what introverts are amazing at? Does the omnipresence of the smartphone limit our creativity?

While The Light Phone might free up my time and mind for creative pursuits, it would force me to communicate with others in a way I don’t particularly relish. Would this then result in me communicating less, thus weakening family and social bonds?

I often think the internet is the single most important invention for introverts. It has allowed us to express ourselves in non-verbal ways, and given us access to a universe of information in the comfort of our own homes. For me, easy access to the internet is freedom.

To be honest, I can replicate the functionality of The Light Phone on my smartphone by removing all my apps and using it only for calls.

The truth is, I don’t really want to. I want the functionality to text and take photos. I like accessing my calendar and social media accounts immediately and I can always discipline myself to not pick up my smartphone as often as I do.

I don’t think The Light Phone is for this introvert. I can see it being wonderful for people who genuinely desire a break from intrusive technology and want to connect with the world in a different way.

Perhaps I’ve missed the point, but I go out and spend quality time with friends/family with my smartphone. I simply turn it off.

For me, despite my desire to spend lots of quality time by myself, I also desire the ability to communicate with the outside world via texting, blogging, and email. With a smartphone and a little discipline, I can do all of this on my terms, not my phones.

Over to you! Does The Light Phone sound like something you would love or loath? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Why introversion and bold style go hand-in-hand

The Introvert Lifestyle, The Stylish Introvert

In January this year, style website Who What Wear published a piece entitled ‘Why Fashion Introverts Are Suddenly Wearing Loud Coats.’ I was immediately confused because I wasn’t sure what a ‘fashion introvert’ was.

Upon further reading, I discovered that a fashion introvert is someone who has understated style and prefers not to stand out from the crowd. Applying this logic further, I assume an ‘interior design introvert’ is someone who delights in minimalism and avoids statement furniture of any kind.

To be fair, I can’t entirely agree with using the word ‘introvert’ to denote understatement and subtlety because I don’t think introverts are understated at all.

Introversion is ultimately about self-expression. This may seem contradictory if you think of self-expression as being solely about verbal self-expression. Introverts express themselves in many ways that don’t require the spoken word. This self-expression can be overt, bold and dramatic.

For example, three years ago I decided to put a jet-black streak in my hair as an homage to Deborah ‘Blondie’ Harry and Daphne Guinness. It contrasts strikingly with the rest of my (very) blonde hair and I love it.

Comedian Amy Schumer is a self-proclaimed introvert. Is she understated and subtle? Definitely not. And if you watched Beyoncé’s performance at the 2016 MTV VMA’s, it’s unlikely you would describe it as understated.

It’s true, you could be forgiven for thinking introverts wouldn’t be interested in stand-out style because it would draw too much attention and open up too many possibilities for unwanted conversations. I mean, we do like to bang on about how we aren’t interested in small talk and prefer limited social engagements.

I think many introverts understand that the only required response to a compliment is “Thank you.” That’s it. The complimenter may want to know where we purchased our amazing coat/bag/shoes from but again, this requires only a simple response. Most people won’t pursue a conversation further.

I’ve no doubt that many introverts prefer a simple wardrobe, but let’s avoid the broad-brush assumptions. Even a cursory search for the subject on Reddit reveals a wide range of approaches to personal style.

None of us can be put into a one-size-fits-all introvert pigeonhole because of the complexities of human behaviour, personality types, physicality, sexuality, and ethnicity.

No doubt there’s other factors, and please make me aware of any I haven’t mentioned.

In reality, an extrovert can dress entirely in monochrome each and every day. Conversely, an introvert can happily dress like Anna del Russo at Mardi Gras.

There’s nothing understated about that.

Over to you! Does your introversion inform the way you dress? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Quiet places for introverts in every town or city

The Introvert Lifestyle

It’s a common must-have for introverts – quiet places to go where we can collect our thoughts, indulge in a peaceful past-time, or simply daydream.

Where can we go to be alone, quiet, and get our energy back? Everywhere is different; Some of us live in large cities, some in small towns.

I sat down and compiled a list of places introverts can go that are easily accessible, cheap (if not completely free) and most importantly, quiet.

  • Okay, let’s start with the obvious…a library. Even in this fast-paced world libraries have managed to retain their reputation for being hushed and noiseless. If you find yourself in a library consider a stroll through the shelves as well as sitting quietly. Who knows? You might discover a new interest or author.
  • Study halls at schools and universities often have quiet sections where only reading and quiet study is allowed. Take advantage of the rules and take some time out for yourself.
  • Have a bicycle? Get on it! Put on some headphones and have a leisurely ride. Let your mind wander and perhaps discover somewhere you haven’t been before.
  • If you have a car, take advantage of the pleasures of a solo drive. Take a pet with you if you like, and leave the tunes at home.
  • This one is a little unconventional and isn’t for everyone; A cemetery. You’re almost guaranteed not to see a single living soul (no pun intended) which makes for uninterrupted bliss. If your town or city has a long history, do a little exploring and find some of the oldest headstones. If you’re a writer, it could provide some rich inspiration.
  • A tree is such a simple (and completely free!) sanctuary from a noisy world. Choose a tree out of the path of people that is going to be comfortable to lean up against or lie under. Take a cushion and a blanket for extra comfort and indulge yourself in a quiet past-time.
  • If you are near the coast, visit the most unpopulated beach you can find. I don’t have to wax lyrical about the calming nature of rolling waves and a gentle wind. A quiet beach is a perfect natural habitat for introverts.
  • If you live in a rural area, quiet lanes and fields are an introvert’s playground. Pack a lunch-for-one, take your favourite book and breathe in some country air.
  • If going out isn’t your cup of tea, create a quiet sanctuary/reading corner in your house or your own room. Create a canopy with some lovely fabric, scatter cushions liberally, and get cozy. If you live in a noisy house, a $2 set of ear plugs from the pharmacist will take care of that!
  • If you live in a city, find a tall building that has a viewing platform at the top not frequently used by tourists. Being high above the noise of the city while looking out to the horizon can not only be calming but can provide valuable perspective.

Over to you! Where do you go to be quiet and to decompress? Feel free to share your favourite spots in the comments below.

Introverts and the art of the thank you note

The Introvert Lifestyle

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you will know that I view introversion through very rose-colored glasses. You would have to go to a lot of effort to convince me that introverts aren’t anything other than amazing.

Having said that, there is one thing introverts could do to significantly improve their reputation as being socially ‘awkward’. The good news is it doesn’t involve showing up to every event we’re invited to or meeting up for coffee. It’s actually a lot simpler.

Hand-written correspondence on elegant stationery is a wonderful way to sincerely connect with people. A simple thank you note is memorable and valued a lot more than an email.

Some tips? Keep your correspondence simple. Invest in a beautiful set of note cards, preferably a set that reflects your personal style. Always hand write your note and the address on the front of the envelope, and keep the message brief but sincere.

To get you started I have hunted down some lovely note card and stationery sets. Find one you LOVE? Simply click on the image and you’ll be taken to the online store selling that item. Enjoy!

The case of the disappearing introvert

Self Care, The Introvert Lifestyle

Eight months ago, I ‘disappeared’.

In January I set my personal Instagram account to private and cleared out my personal Facebook page leaving behind only one previous post, which was this…

you-got-this

In the last eight months, there have been no coffee catch-ups, drinks nights, brunches or shopping trips with friends. My only significant social interaction has been with family. If I bump into a neighbour I’ll stop for a brief chat and then go on my way.

And that’s it.

To be fair, in the lead-up to ‘ghosting’ everyone outside of family I hadn’t been overly social anyway. The text messages from a small group of friends asking to meet up for coffee/drinks etc had gotten fewer and farther between (for reasons I will go into shortly), but I was at least ‘keeping in touch’ on Facebook and Instagram.

So why did I ‘ghost’ everyone? Well, it was mostly to do with timing. I had just entered my seventh year of wrestling with a long term illness and I felt physically and mentally drained. Even social interactions on Facebook and texting felt too much by this point. I longed to be left alone to ‘reconfigure’ everything. I wondered what would happen if I devoted the entirety of 2016 to my home, my work, and socialised only with my very nearest and dearest.

I wondered if I disappeared from my personal social media accounts, would it be noticed? Would I become more productive if I had the opportunity to really focus? Most importantly, would my health improve?

There were risks, most importantly to my mental health. It was possible that the relief of not having an active social life would be outweighed by boredom and loneliness.

I also risked alienating people permanently. I mean, would you ‘take back’ a friend who had ghosted you for a year or longer? What I was about to do could be called selfish and cold. By arbitrarily deciding to opt out of friendships without explanation, would I be waiving the right to reconnect in the future?

So what has happened eight months in? After not posting on Facebook for a few weeks, I did receive a couple of messages asking where I had gone. I didn’t reply. I sat and thought long and hard about whether to reply. I could have just sent a simple ‘I’m okay, just taking some time out.’ but even that seemed difficult, and to be honest unnecessary. I felt like I didn’t have to explain myself and my silence didn’t result in any further messages.

I suspected that my disappearance would go largely unnoticed because I had taken breaks before, and said as much, but I had never cleared out my account and made it so ‘final’. I also think that it says a lot about the quality of my relationships with others. Clearly, my friendship skills need some work.

Overall, things are travelling well. To be honest, much better than I expected. There was a glitch mid-year when my illness made a spectacular return, but it was relatively brief and was soon under control.  My days now revolve around writing, design, housework, talking to three cats, going for a walk, and cooking.

I keep in regular touch with family via text and family get-togethers. The social contact with family has turned out to be all I have needed and I’ve enjoyed it. Recently we were all together in the country.

My overall mental health and productivity are good. I am thinking more clearly and creatively than this time last year, and I have also set myself attainable goals. My physical health has also improved. I now have a normal sleeping pattern and I have lost weight from eating better and exercising more.

You might be wondering if I’m lonely. To be honest, no. I largely put this down to being an introvert. However, I am very mindful of the fact that if I didn’t have my family things could be different.

There is one outcome that I’m not yet able to articulately explain. At the beginning of the year, all personal social media interaction felt like a burden and it became something I wanted to avoid. And yet, I am thoroughly enjoying the interaction I now experience via Mirror Balls & Confetti.

Is it because I am talking with a like-minded community of people who have no expectation of meeting up for coffee or cocktails?

One thing is absolutely clear; being an introvert has made the last eight months possible. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to spend hours alone in a quiet space. I now decide who and what my energy is directed to more than ever. My mind has calmed significantly and has made room for creativity.

Oh, and my house is freshly painted and really, really clean.

Over to you! Have you ever ‘disappeared’ and not socialised for any length of time? If not, would you consider doing it? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

How to save introverts from share-house hell

The Introvert Lifestyle

If you’re an introvert, I don’t need to tell you about the hell that living with multiple people can be. I definitely don’t need to remind you of the mystery of the disappearing bar of facial soap. You know, the one that seemed to get very small very quickly. I don’t need to remind you of the stomach-turning feeling you got when you realised your housemate had been using it to wash.their.entire.body.

I also don’t need to remind you of the time your housemate left their substantial collection of pornographic DVDs in a box in the communal lounge room. Just before your parents were due to arrive for dinner. And the time it was revealed your new housemate enjoyed experimental cooking and had recently discovered hot spices and sauces. Even though you didn’t have asthma, you were able to involuntarily replicate an asthma attack immediately upon entering the house.

Of course, no one needs reminding of the weekly crash parties (that you were never invited to, thank god, but still had to listen to), or the incessant sounds of doors opening/closing at every hour of the day and night, or (and this is my personal favourite) the knock on the door at 5.30am asking you to move your car so your housemate can go the airport to pick up their…whatever. As if they couldn’t have asked you to do that, oh I don’t know, last night?!

Sorry, just one other thing I don’t need to remind you about. Remember that time you put your light-coloured delicates in the washing machine only to discover when the cycle was done that your housemate had also thrown in their soil and blood-stained sports gear? I do.

You know how it is. Whether it’s out of sheer necessity, an attempt to save money for a place of your own or simply out of geographical convenience, many of us have had to share accommodations at some point in our lives.

Perhaps it was when we were students and we were thrown together with a complete stranger in a tiny dorm room. Or perhaps we shared a house/flat off campus. As adults in the workforce, we also find ourselves in need of housemates to share rent while we diligently save for our own place.

For introverts, the constant noise, unpredictability, and invasions of privacy that come with shared living can take their toll physically and mentally. With central nervous systems on high alert, we often find ourselves cranky, tired, and emotional.

How heavenly would it be to come home to someone who’s idea of a great night in is a glass of wine in front of a gently blazing fire and the latest episode of the Great British Bake Off? Better yet, they’ve placed your slippers in front of said fire so that they’re lovely and toasty for you. There’s also your half of a beautifully made casserole warming in the oven. Of course, out of gratitude and respect, you happily return the gestures by vacuuming only when your housemate is out so as not to destroy their peace and quiet. You also silently leave their mail on the dining room table instead of banging on their door to tell them they have mail.

How wonderful would it be to have housemates who hold civilised pre-arranged book club meetings once a month instead of keggers where everyone is inexplicably dressed in unitards and mankinis?

Something has to be done to assist introverts who have no choice but to house-share! I am proposing that the government set up a database of introvert-approved housemates. These housemates will have been rigorously assessed and classified according to their quietness, consideration for others, their penchant for deep and meaningful conversations, and how well  they treat kittens, puppies and the elderly.

Introverts need some peace of mind dammit! When we are well-rested, well-nourished, and have our intellectual curiosities satisfied we become productive, well-adjusted lovely citizens.

Give us our database!

Over to you! Do you have an awful share-house story? Feel free to vent in the comments below!

The curious introvert

The Introvert Lifestyle

 

Mirror Balls & Confetti The curious introvert

Introverts make naturally curious explorers. While we are more likely to plan well ahead and stick to an itinerary, we do not shy away from enjoying our experience. We like to take time to process the new sights, sounds and flavours of our adventures and will also document them so we can enjoy them again later in our imaginations.

Treats with style for introverts

Home Comforts, Self Care, Sweet Treats, The Introvert Lifestyle, The Stylish Introvert

When looking for treats for ourselves, we introverts tend to look to aesthetic pieces that will make our lives more comfortable.

For example, you could get rid of those hard plastic earbuds and replace them with super-comfortable (and oh-so-stylish) rose gold headphones that practically scream ‘Don’t talk to me’. Perk up your favourite chair with a faux fur pillow and a soft throw. Try a new skill and teach yourself how to cook amazing middle eastern food with a cookbook.

There are lots of little ways to treat yourself and here are some of my personal favourites.

Find something you love? Simply click on the item and it will take you to the online store for that item.

Get inspired with these treats!