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It’s a common myth that introverts are drained by all people.  I’m here to share that while the concept of an introvert’s need for recharge is well known, the reasons for energy drain and the ways we recharge are many and will definitely vary from one introvert to the next – and it’s definitely not just being around people that is draining. In preparing for this episode, I asked many introverts what drained them and what energized them.  Contrary to the myth, for many introverts, certain people, engaging conversations and situations are just the opposite: Energizing!

The important thing is to know yourself and what you need. Once you know what it is you need, you can build it into your weekly plan. Understanding what drains you and what energizes you can make you strong!

 Books referenced in this podcast:

The Introvert’s Way – Sophia Dembling

Get my book: 

Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts

Contact the host of Quiet and Strong :

David Hall
Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
quietandstrong.com
Gobio.link/quietandstrong
david@quietandstrong.com

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Podcast Transcript

Ep. 13 – Energy Management Especially for Introverts

Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong Podcast, Especially for introverts.  I am your host, David Hall and creator of quietandstrong.com.  This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced. Normally we will air each episode on Monday morning.  Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. 

We are going to talk about energy today and especially managing energy as an introvert.   

The concept of an introvert’s need for recharge is well known. But with so many different types of introverts, the need for recharge is not the same for everyone. The important thing is to know yourself and what you need. Once you know what it is you need, you can build it into your weekly plan. Again, I am not an introvert because I need to recharge. I need to recharge BECAUSE I’m an introvert. Being a deep thinker is what is at the heart of my introversion. I turn inward to thought more often than not. This is how I naturally process the world around me – internally rather than externally. So, when I’m spending more time focused externally, this tends to drain my energy. 

It is also important to note that some introverts may be more in tune with their feelings and the feelings of others. This type of introvert might experience a drain caused by the overwhelming sense of the feelings of others. The important idea here is that you need to understand what causes your energy to drain, and then build in time for recharge as needed to stay on top of your game. 

I was thinking about my own energy levels as I led a series of small group discussions with members of a large team.  After facilitating three of these in a row, I realized I was feeling quite drained. Often, I associate this drain with something that I do not enjoy, such as mindless small talk or networking with strangers. But in this case, I was having great discussions about important topics. I realized that my energy drain is not necessarily caused by things that are unpleasant to me. So, what do I do when something I like doing leaves me feeling drained? In this case, I was able to schedule a break right after. My days are never the same, so I just do my best to not schedule draining activities back to back. Most days, I am able to plan my schedule. But some days I find myself in consecutive activities that drain me. Back-to- back meetings are often draining for me. For the past year I have still had a lot of meetings, but they have all been virtual.  Virtual meetings can be just as draining and perhaps in some cases more so.  I can be draining to be on camera and have more focused attention on you,

 or sometimes the sound quality varies.  Someone might have some internet issues and it is a strain to understand them.

Non verbal cues are missing.  Ever tell a joke and everyone is on mute?

Trying to balance what is going on at home and control the noise etc.

I miss the impromptu conversations after.  Now you have to seek them out and it is not as natural.

So either way, meetings can be draining.  I hope to get back to some in person meetings in the near future.  We will see.

However, meetings are not always draining, I remember one particular day was jam-packed with meetings where I was either in charge of the meeting or was an important contributing member of the meeting. The meetings were filled with decisions that needed to be made and many variables and situations that needed to be worked out. It involved quite a bit of back and forth with my colleagues. As I mentioned, some days like this could be draining, but this day I was energized by thinking through problems and coming up with solutions in a collaborative way. So, to me, not every meeting is draining in the same way. The key for me has been getting to know myself, so I can anticipate which activities will be draining, and planning when I will need a break. 

In general, if I am able, I schedule a little space in between meetings. I may still be doing some work, but I at least have some alone time to recharge. Sometimes meetings are back-to-back without a break. Maybe I can get a little recharge on the walk between meetings. But sometimes there is no relief during the workday. On these days, I can adjust my thoughts to cope until there is recharge time. Sometimes this recharge might have to wait until work ends. The drive home was one of my big recharge times… Just me and my thoughts and maybe a little music. I haven’t been driving too much this past year, but do find it necessary to recharge by switching rooms and having a bit of alone time before hanging out with the family for the evening.  I love hanging out with the family, but may need a bit of time first.

In planning your schedule and maintaining energy for all the “external processing” activities you’ll encounter during the day, the first step is recognizing those activities that tend to drain you. If you have to give a presentation or lead a meeting and you know that “being on stage” wears you out, you might try to arrange your schedule so you have some time alone to reflect afterward. Understand what drains you, and when you need a recharge. 

When you are not able to fully arrange your schedule, at least allow yourself breaks during the day if possible. For instance, take advantage of your commute times if you are commuting, and maybe find time later in the evening or early in the morning that you can use to focus and recharge each day. Keep in mind that an extrovert may need some visiting/interacting time with others to recharge after spending time working alone on a task or project. Introverts are not the only ones who need recharge. Extroverts may feel restless or trapped when they spend excessive time alone — they might recharge by visiting with others in the office, or needing other social activities that would drain an introvert. Everyone is different. When you begin to understand what drains you and what types of recharge work best, you can better maintain your energy focus. 

Like I said, I found that not all people drain me, but certain people and situations do. My wife is my best friend and a fellow introvert.  Spending time with her can be very energizing or recharging.  She said she feels the same, but I think I may be a little draining to her sometimes. Another example, is my brothers and sisters.  I could spend the day hanging out with them. In this case I am usually not drained, but quite the opposite and can be quite energized by the conversation. It can be great to talk about the good old days, some of the crazy things that happened to us as kids, what we are doing now, and what big plans we have for the future. Draining? Quite the opposite.  It has been a while for these type of gatherings, and hello to any of my family that is listening;

It is not people, but the types of conversations that we are having.

In The Introvert’s Way, Sophia Dembling says “…I could make a case that introverts are more genuinely people-oriented than extroverts because we’re always on he lookout for connections and conversations, whereas extroverts are content with noise and chatter.” That’s it… I don’t enjoy the noise and chatter! So, I won’t feel guilty about not enjoying the noise and chatter or apologize for not enjoying it. 

I can get drained by noisy environments if I am trying to carry on conversations. However, noisy environments do not always drain me. One vacation day, I spent ten hours at an indoor amusement park with my kids – video games, go-karts, bumper cars, mini roller coasters, etc. There were a lot people there since many kids were out of school. My kids had a great time and they were not tired until the place was closing. I had a great time too. This event started me thinking about the various opinions I have been reading about introverts and the need for recharge. That day, I had a great time the entire day and did not feel the need to be “alone.” I love my kids and love spending time with them. So for me, neither the crowd of people nor lots of noise or other activities going on around me triggered the need for alone time and recharge. I’m sure there are some introverts out there that could have experienced a similar day as I did with the crowds and activity and would definitely need the alone time to recharge after. Introverts are each different and experience the world differently. 

Some introverts are going to be more sensitive to sound.  I love loud music, especially in the car, as long as I am not trying to talk.  My extroverted daughter, does not like loud music as we were going somewhere the other day I would turn up the radio and she would turn it down.  Again, no introvert or extrovert is exactly the same.  The important thing is to know yourself and what YOU need. I think too many people try to put introverts neatly into a box, but we are not all the same. You need to understand how you best operate and plan for recharge as much as you can, so you can be your best, most productive, and happy self. 

What is draining? For example, with people who talk a lot – it’s not the person that is draining, but the continual talking that doesn’t allow an introvert to think. Or when networking or “working a room” it’s not the people in the room that are draining, but the need to get outside one’s own mind to carry on small talk that causes the drain. 

Here are a few things that cause a recharge need for me:

• When I am trying to think and because of interruptions or too many things happening, I can’t. Again, thinking for introverts is very natural, but in certain environments, not being able to process your thoughts can be very draining. 

• Strained conversation with strangers or those I don’t relate to very well. It’s trying to come up with topics, especially unfamiliar ones can be draining. 

• Being “on stage” as the center of attention or extended periods of time. For me, some examples of this would be running meetings, attending meetings, giving presentations, or conducting training. 

When do you need to recharge? And once you’ve determined what causes you to be drained, how do you make time to recharge? For example, can you block out some time right after that meeting or situation that drained you? When I schedule a little time for recharge, I’m better able to function after a draining situation. It’s important to get to know ourselves, how we function best, and what drains and recharges us, so as much as possible, we can build recharge opportunities into our daily routine. 

So we all have different things that energize and drain us.  And we have different strategies for recharge.  So I reached out on social media and through some group texts.  Some of the social media you could see and there was some in private groups.  Thanks for your responses!  Have these kind of conversations help affirm who you are and what you need.  Or may help you understand another’s needs.  Or you may get some great ideas.  I will share a lot of what I received.  Some will be verbatim and some I may summarize.  As you will see, some introverts can be energized by people, it just needs to be the right people and conversations. This is in no particular order.

A good conversation with the right person gives me an energy similar to being hugely inspired & creative. What drains me is being surrounded by too much noise that I can’t ignore or switch off.

Energises is a good 2 way conversation with someone being present and listening. Drains being around people talking nonsense! Or lots of talk where people are ignorant or ill informed. Lots of noise.

I wouldn’t say I’m energised by any socialisation but a deep connection and great conversation doesn’t drain me as much as being around groups does. I feel energised after a walk, workout, reading

I am energized by being on my own. Drained by overly talkative people, the chatty ones with nothing positive to say, recharging for me is curling up alone with my favorite TV shows and junk food.

I am energized by great conversations. I just had a wonderful one today with a friend who’s starting her own consulting business. I really enjoy talking about HR so that certainly energizes me. Exercise as well of course, a nice long walk with a great podcast is wonderful. Reading and sitting alone with my thoughts are good as well. Group conversations/settings are difficult, I certainly prefer a more intimate gathering. 

Having to be “on” all the time is also very difficult. With children it can be especially draining by the end of the day if I can’t get some me time.

Energising – running, meditation, talking with good friends, stitching, reading, listening to music. Draining – too many commitments (social or work), prolonged loud noise, too much screen time. 

The things that energize me also drains me. I have a certain time of the day that I feel able to think deeply. This is the time I use to create business plan, do research, marketing, call clients. But at the end of this time, my brain has been on overdrive and it’s like hitting a wall. I am unable to process any more data. I eat, and I take a nap. Then I wake up, have a half cup of tea and go again until later in the evening.

Energizing: clients, nature, friends, cat

Draining: bad diet, negativity, certain people who are not a vibrational match. 

Energy drainers: unproductive meetings, foolishness, being ON, video meetings. Recharge: Music, silence, candle lit shower, meditation.

What energizes me is being with my family & close friends, setting goals & actually doing something about them. What drains me is constant noise or talking. My “alone” time listening to music is how I recharge.

what energizes you? Music, exercise, caffeine 

What drains you? Phonecalls or being in a zoom reunions. 

How do you recharge?  going out alone listening music or workout .

These days, zoom calls drain me. Video and constant chatter is so exhausting. I have to retreat, listen to music (on headphones), read or just lie down to re-energize. Walks also help.

Nature, any form but just spending time in nature…

I’m an “extreme” Introvert who had a successful career in marketing: intl travel, trade shows, public speaking, etc. I managed by creating pockets of time to rest/relax wherever in the world I was, didn’t party or drink. Now I work at home, live in a forest – I’m in heaven.

Too much of anything. But too much talking, socialising, calls, overworking… that’s when I start to feel tired. Recharge via naps, Young Adult Fantasy, Netflix, lying on the floor, walks, showers

I think the F for feeler in my INFP type can get overloaded by negative news. It can feel emotionally overwhelmed & “feel with” the other person. I recharge by limiting news & doing something creative, like expressive painting to discharge feelings.

Being by myself reading, journaling, envisioning, with a good cuppa and my favourite essential oils gently diffusing in the background

Energizing: Engaging and stimulating conversations with smart, genuine, generous, and passionate people who are both interesting AND interested.👍🏻

Exhausting: Long, boring, uninteresting conversations about meaningless and/or mundane topics (like the weather) with clueless people who just want to hear themselves talk.👎🏻

Nature energises me and lifts my spirits. Too much face to face networking drains me.  I’m a tv / film lover so recharge on the couch. I also love massages 💆‍♀️ and Pilates.

Drains: too much stimulation, strong energy, large crowds. Recharges: intimate conversations, quiet time, body movement, nature, laughing, retreating

For me, I love being around people for short bursts and I love my own company. The sound of my thoughts are so loud that sometimes I forget I haven’t spoken to anyone for a day or two (bar my husband and dog, of course!!). I’m confident and don’t mind talking in front of a crowd but I don’t like to fight to be heard. That’s just annoying and rude/lacking self awareness on the part of the people that are leading the forum and taking up all the oxygen!!

I get drained pretty easily. Most outside my house type situations, like going to church, family events or having my kids’s friends over. After being drained I like sitting alone (usually in the bathroom since it takes my kids a bit longer to find me). Exercise helps energize me depending on the situation, meaning if I can exercise before the activity I tend to last longer. But to decompress after the life sucking activity I usually just need time alone so I put an audiobook on for the kids and they can also decompress. Honestly it really kind of depends on how drained I get that determines what I need to do to recover. Sometimes talking to my husband or a good friend is helpful but usually sitting in my bed in comfy clothes or hiding in the bathroom are my go to’s. 

it’s more about what feeds your soul rather than what drains you, if that makes sense. Introverts are internal feeders. Extraverts are external feeders. I can be in a crowd as an introvert and be fed, and vice versa for an extravert. We’ve just been conditioned that that isn’t the case and it makes me sad.

Working in an open plan office! Utterly draining for me as an introvert, nourishing for an extrovert! Needless to say lockdown and wfh has been a delight 

Gosh, things that drain me…anything with lots of people. Even if I’m not interacting with them! A night out at a comedy gig or theatre show leaves me exhausted. Also things like public transport or airports..I think just being around people zaps my energy 😂

what drains me is being overwhelmed by too many tasks/obligations. The recharging is what I’m still working on…I do love a good nap, a walk, or some quiet time.

Thanks again to those of you that shared.

In our busy lives, sometimes we feel guilty or get guilt from others when we need to take time for ourselves. We have to remember that if we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be nearly as effective at taking care of anyone else. But when we are “fully charged” we will have what it takes to take on the many responsibilities and challenges we face daily. 

Do you know what energizes you and what drains you? How would you respond?  If you are not sure, keep track for a week.  Also, other parts of this conversation would be proper sleep, diet, exercise, and extended time off.  Maybe there are some things that are draining that you can cut out or at least reduce.  How is your week organized can you schedule recharge time strategically throughout the week and on the weekends?

Again, I am not an introvert because I need to recharge.  I need to recharge BECAUSE I’m an introvert.  Know how you work best!

Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out quietandstrong.com, david@.  I will add social media channels to the show notes. Please comment on the social media posts related to this podcast.  Send me topics or questions and we can address those on the show. So many great things about being an introvert and so we need those to be understood.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be Strong!

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