Know Who You Are. Know What You Need.

The students in the group communication course that I teach recently completed a personality assessment.  I took it, too, and my results weren't surprising.  Although I enjoy (yes, enjoy) public speaking and engaging audiences, I'm an introvert at heart.

Introversion can be misunderstood.  Being introverted doesn't necessarily mean that you're shy.  (I'm not.)  Nor does it mean that you don't like people.   (I do.)

One basic way to differentiate introverts and extroverts is understanding how people recharge and where they draw their strength.  Extroverts are restored and invigorated by engaging with people.  Introverts, on the other hand, find quiet time as a restorative balm and an opportunity to mentally regroup. 

The results also confirmed that I'm task and detail-oriented, something that I know too well when I veer into OCD tendencies and must fight the urge to sort my daughters' toys into categories -- the My Little Ponies shouldn't merge with Littlest Pet Shop, and can we please just keep Polly Pockets to themselves?

Every personality type has strengths and weaknesses.  Being task-oriented is useful.  It enables me to get to business once I tuck the girls into bed, and it keeps me disciplined when I use the nighttime hours to grade and prepare for my classes.  Sometimes, though, this intensity has drawbacks.  You simply cannot operate at full-throttle all the time.  (Well, perhaps you can.  I sure know I can't.)

So, on Wednesday night I let myself crash.  I had grading to complete, but once the girls were asleep I planted myself on the couch with chips and salsa and watched Survivor for one gloriously mindless hour.  Then I went to bed promptly at 9:00.

It will all get done, I reminded myself as I set my head on my pillow and, as reported by my husband the next morning, proceeded to take up much more than my half of the bed as I drifted into delicious sleep.

On Thursday, I was a new woman.  Plus, I was right: it all got done -- and it got done more easily than if I had ignored my body's legitimate need to rest.

Moms, recharge yourselves at some point this weekend.  Tap into what restores you.  You'll be better for it.


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