Each year, during July 4th week, I take a vacation with my family. Its something we have done for the past 25 years. It is actually what I call a TRUE vacation. We go to the same place, stay in the same condo, shop at the same grocer, we have favorite restaurants and we know the town inside and out so we don’t feel obligated to do anything touristy. This allows us to fully relax unlike when we visit a strange city. We have 5 other families that join us on this week and have done so all 25 years. We have watched our kids grow up and some of them even have kids of their own. It’s a great time and a great reunion each and every year. There is one drawback. While I may be physically on vacation, my personality doesn’t take a vacation. I’m still a very social introvert. So what does that mean and why is it a drawback?
I am an introvert however I am not shy. When I do get in social settings I am very comfortable and can hold my own. I have no issues with gatherings small or large (well, most times). I enjoy meeting new people and I normally can relax and be myself. However, I can only handle this in small quantities. Social gatherings for an introvert actually drain them of energy unlike an extrovert who will gain energy from such events. If you are an introvert you know exactly what I mean. We have to remember that while we might be on vacation our personalities are not. For an introvert, sometimes even a relaxing day at the beach can become over-stimulating.
Although no one wants to make plans for their every waking moment while on vacation I think it’s a good idea to keep a few things in mind:
- You are still going to need down time no matter where you travel. If you allow yourself that you will find that you are able to enjoy your vacation much more.
- Take your travel time/method into consideration. Vacation doesn’t start when you arrive at your destination; it starts when you leave home. If a long car ride with others or a long day of airports and airplanes is involved you will need to allow some down time as soon as you arrive at your destination. An easy way to do this without seeming to retreat from your family/friends is to encourage them to go explore. You can send them on a mission to check out a restaurant for dinner while you unpack your suitcase and grab a quick shower.
- Plan your day with some “me” time included. This may mean getting up before everyone and enjoying your coffee by the pool or taking a midday stroll. If you don’t want to feel as if you are losing vacation time than do something you want to do – just do it alone. Explore a local museum or take photos in a local park.
- If you are traveling with a large group arrange to have a dinner or two alone with just your significant other or one/two close friends. Chose a quiet restaurant and try to go when it’s not so crowded. Avoid the early hours when the clientele is mostly families with children. Go when the energy level in the restaurant is low and you are able to relax and unwind.
- Upon arriving home, allow yourself that same courtesy of down time when you are done with your travel day.
Just as an extrovert will want to go go go while they are traveling, introverts need to chill chill chill. The problem is that more people are tolerant of the extrovert often giving them titles of praise like “life of the party” and “full of energy” while introverts usually get the labels that are a tad negative “anti-social” or “party pooper”. It’s this reason that introverts tend to not give themselves the down time that they need. If you are a social introvert I’m sure you can recall several times that you pushed yourself past the limit of comfort often staying up later to entertain or attending another dinner when all you really wanted to do was put on your pj’s and read a good book. Just remember, your introversion is nothing that you need to try to change – it’s is as much a part of you as your eye color or your smile. It’s who you are and there are no apologizes needed.
If you have an introvert/extrovert issue you would like me to address in a future blog post please let me know. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, say hi on Twitter @chelelawson, connect with me on LinkedIn – Michele Lawson, or simply leave a comment to this post.
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