How to Be a Healthy Introvert (Instead of a Hermit)

I did not leave my house for the last 4 days.

This wasn’t exactly on purpose; the stars just kind of aligned. I work from home. My fridge was well-stocked. My boyfriend was out of town. There was an unwelcoming snow pile outside of my window that my snowshoes didn’t feel like tackling.

Last week, I was social. I went out into the social sphere three nights in a row: post-work drinks, a family birthday gathering, and movie night with some friends.

After that social streak, I was EXHAUSTED. I am an introvert, and proud of it, thank-you-very-much. I’m also an only-child. I crave long bouts of solitude. It’s the only way I can truly recharge. After three night of socializing, it was my instinct to hole up.

I barely even talked to anyone.

How to Be a Healthy Introvert (Instead of a Hermit)

But after a while, being holed up becomes less about introvert self-care and more about social anxiety.

For instance, the thought of going out after so much time alone at home became slightly stressful for me. Let be honest: there is only so long a person can be alone before they begin to suffer from self-doubt, mild depression, and a warped perception of reality. For me, that happens at the four day mark.

But once an introvert is in her hole, it’s tough to get her out if you don’t have some tricks up your sleeve. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you thwart tendencies towards hermitry and living a balanced, healthy, introverted life.

Are you staying in and avoiding social situations because you need to rest and recharge? Or are you anxious about facing social situations and feel more comfortable at home in your nest?

This can be a tough question to answer point blank, so if you’re still unsure, check in on these follow-up points.

Are you moving your body at all?

Just because you are recharging at home does not mean you get to stop exercising, too. Sure, take a rest day, but any more than that while you are holed up in your introvert cave can lead to a lot of unnecessary angst and inner turmoil.

Do yourself a favor and do a few down-dogs and planks. It will make your alone time a much healthier, more energizing experience.

Are you reading or binge-watching?

We all succumb to occasional Netflix binges. There are times when it just happens, and that’s just fine. But if you’re sitting there in a moment of indecision, one hand on a book and the other on your computer, choose the book.

Reading will bring you into a healthier headspace than rewatching a whole season of Breaking Bad. (If you do need to binge watch a show, may I recommend Friends? The bite-sized episodes always seems to do the trick when I am a little overwhelmed or bummed out.)

The point is, reading engages your brain in a way that television doesn’t. The healthy introvert needs that sort of mental stimulation; where do you think all that creativity comes from? Recharge with books more often.

Are you eating reasonably well?

The introvert cave is the perfect place to bake fresh chocolate chip cookies and indulge in a few too many. It’s all about balance. However, if your diet takes a sharp turn for the worse, something greater may be at play.

Try to keep a healthy, balanced diet while you’re holed up. It’s self-care 101. If you’re scraping the back of your refrigerator and or eating chips all day, you’re clearly not taking care of yourself. You’re not healing, you’re hiding.

How to Be a Healthy Introvert (and not a hermit)

Have you been outside in the last 24 hours?

No, you don’t have to go anywhere. Just step outside, feel the sunlight on your face, inhale the fresh air, and remind yourself that there is a vibrant world out there, ready whenever you are.

You shouldn’t feel like you need to be in hiding from the outside. You just need time and space to take care of your own unique needs, and that probably includes soaking in some sunlight.

Have you done anything you love in the last 24 hours?

Okay, so you’ve holed up eating cookies and watching Netflix for an entire day. Totally fine. We all need days where we can just turn off. But, if the sort of behavior continues any longer than a day, it’s obvious that you are trying to distract yourself from something moderately uncomfortable.

Maybe it’s a thought, maybe an event, maybe an inevitable conversation. Well, you need to get out of that swirling mental toilet bowl. Instead, do yourself a favor and force yourself to do something you love for 20 minutes.

Whether that is dancing in your underwear singing Celine Dion or designing tiny houses using only toothpicks, filling your heart with passion and love can make the difference between introversion and hermitry.

Bust Out of the Hermitry Rut

If you do find yourself in an unhealthy hermit hide-out, try starting off with some journaling. Just unload all of your thoughts. Odds are, something is at the core of your fresh bout of hermitude, and writing is the best way to mine it out.

Then, work your way through the above list, call a close friend or family member, and get yourself out of the house.

Sometimes you just have to face the world head-on. But if you’re just spent, dear introvert, by all means, treat yourself to a recharge day or two of good books, solitude, bubble baths, and biscuit baking. You deserve it.

Related on Care2:

Image via Thinkstock.


Marie W
Marie W6 months ago

Thank you for sharing!

Sonia M

Interesting post,thanks for sharing

Peggy B
Peggy B7 months ago


Sophie L
Past Member 8 months ago

Thank you

Shirley P
Shirley Plowman8 months ago


Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara8 months ago

A good game like Oblivion or Skyrim gets you outdoors without leaving the house

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara8 months ago

Book for a convention or other event

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara8 months ago

some people like online RPGs for this reason

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara8 months ago

Amanda, I'm glad you have the internet! Maybe you could adopt someone? just kidding...

Clare O'Beara
Clare O'Beara8 months ago