If you’re an introvert heading to a conference, family reunion or vacation with friends, a few well-chosen items in your baggage can go a long way toward protecting your energy levels and increasing your enjoyment of your trip. Here are ten to consider:
- Snacks: Larger hotels usually offer a good choice of healthy food, but if you’re attending a smaller event, you may find coffee and donuts are the only options. To avoid a sugar crash, pack snacks which travel well, like apples or small bags of nuts.
- Herbal tea or packets of hot chocolate: A comforting drink will help you relax at the end of the day or any time you feel frazzled. If there’s a pod-style coffee maker in your room, use one of the herbal tea pods and then save it for re-use with your own tea bag or hot chocolate powder.
- A few home comforts like cozy socks, an eye mask and ear plugs. Your downtime will feel more relaxing if you bring small, familiar items with you.
- Comfortable shoes: If it’s safe to leave the venue for a short walk, you’ll get a double boost from the fresh air and solo time.
- Headphones: Aside from listening to soothing music or following along with a meditation app, headphones are an effective signal to others that you’re not open to conversation right now.
- Headache pills: As an introvert, you may find extended high-energy interactions trigger headaches. Pop a few over-the-counter pills in your bag, just in case. And if you’re prone to migraines, don’t leave home without your preferred medications.
- A soothing scent: Slip a scented sachet of lavender, chamomile or bergamot into your pocket and you can take an aromatherapy break whenever you feel impending overwhelm. If you’d like to make your own, there are plenty of instructions online for combining rice and essential oil in a fabric pouch.
- A shortlist of people you’d love to connect with: At a professional event, focus on quality over quantity. Identify in advance 3-5 people you’d love to meet and aim for a short, meaningful conversation. Don’t feel you have to chat with hordes of new contacts.
- Items which show, rather than tell: For a professional event, bring business cards as a minimum. But if you have brochures, books or small products, be sure to carry them with you. Your “exhibits” move the focus away from you and onto the benefits you can offer. For a social reunion, a few photos can be a helpful way of bringing others up to date.
- A quiet pastime: For a social gathering, consider bringing something which encourages activity instead of mere talking. A jigsaw puzzle, for example, allows friends or family to assemble and collaborate, but lowers the buzz to a level introverts may find more sustainable.
You may not want to bring all ten items along on every trip, but thoughtful packing can preserve both your stamina and sanity, enabling you to get the most out of your stay. I’d love to hear what other self-care items you include in your kit.
Pauline Wiles is an author, Anglophile and serenity seeker. An unapologetic introvert, she believes self-awareness is the foundation of happiness.
Download your free “Perfect Day” Workbook at http://www.paulinewiles.com/serenity-project/