Surviving in an Extroverted City as an Introvert

Posted on Friday, Feb 28, 2020

Just some tips on ways to stay mentally charged in a demanding work and home environment. DC is an amazing city, but it can be difficult to fully appreciate the opportunity you’ve been given when your exhausted and cranky. Balancing work, home sickness, and maintaining a healthy relationship with your awesome roommates isn’t attainable unless you learn to prioritize your wellbeing. With patience and a lot of trial and error, I discovered some tricks to cool down and recharge my brain that you will hopefully also find helpful.
  1. Self-Care – I like to do one thing for myself before I go to bed each night. Some nights it’s a face mask and a piece of fancy dark chocolate, other nights it’s stretching to music for a better night’s sleep. Whatever you think will help you try it out and stick to a routine, so you actually do it.
  2. Explore one new place every week – For the more adventurous, this may seem like a no brainer, but for a home body like myself, it’s motivational. We only get this one chance to be here so there is a lot of pressure to make the most of it that it seems daunting. If you have something to look forward to each week it helps the time go by faster and the work becomes less cumbersome and overwhelming. At the end of the day you just have to remember that you don’t have to do anything, and it is a choice.
  3. Take a Walk – Taking a walk is a great way to clear your head and get a little work out in. I like to walk home from work at night on the Mount Vernon trail, which takes you along the Potomac River. It saves you from paying those rush hour metro prices and I don’t feel guilty about my morning bagel. I find that I am also better equipped to facilitate conversations with my roommates and not procrastinate on my homework as opposed to just going straight to bed when I get home. Whether you’re walking to the National Mall to sight see or Pentagon City Mall to get groceries, you’re guaranteed to become familiar with your new home and feel more energetic and productive.
If you just remember that you always have options whenever you start to feel overwhelmed, your experience in DC will be beneficial to your personal and career goals. It is a great time for self-reflection because after all we are all here to gain experience and to learn more about ourselves. You just have to practice patience and learn what methods work best for you.

Krista Barentine
Department of Interior - National Parks Service 
Washington, D.C. | spring 2020