Image of a pair of glasses resting on an open book on a comfortable couch.

Self Care

Reading Benefits Introverts: Read To Recharge

October 14, 2023

I'm Jess. This blog is a collection of everything I've learned as I rebuilt my self-image from a burned-out-extrovert-wannabe to an at-ease-introvert-bookworm.
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After a decade-long struggle with introvert burnout, I hit the brakes on my life to rest, recalibrate, and recharge. There was just one problem… I had no clue where to start. With no roadmap but desperate to feel joy again, I intuitively (read: randomly) turned to things that had felt good in the past, like reading. I never could have imagined how much reading benefits introverts, especially those feeling burned out (like me).

Despite joking that I threw spaghetti at the wall until something clicked, I like to think my brain knew exactly what it was doing because reading helped heal my introvert burnout. Reading has now become my daily practice to find balance, crucial to introvert well-being.

Let’s discuss why reading benefits introverts and how to build the habit of reading for recharge.

Why Introverts Need to Recharge

Introvert burnout is a version of burnout that’s unique to introverted people. It’s a direct consequence of not getting enough time to rest and recharge by way of solitary activities and self-reflection. However, it’s ultimately caused by our society’s preference for extroverted traits and behaviors. Our culture sees extroversion as the benchmark, and introverts feel like outsiders as a result. 

Whereas introverted people are more inward-facing, extroverts prefer external stimuli. Because our society is built with extroverted preferences in mind, introverted people are constantly being drained and made to second guess their need for alone time. After all, we don’t want to come off as “too quiet,” “standoffish,” or “anti-social” (all common micro-aggressions toward introverts).

When introverts are repeatedly drained of energy without the chance to recharge, they are at risk of experiencing introvert burnout.

Think of it like this: if you overdraft your bank account, you have to replenish the funds to regain your good standing with the bank. But when you keep over-drafting without adding money to your account, you just keep digging yourself into debt until your bank cuts you off. In this case, your energy is the currency, the bank is your well-being, and the cut-off is some kind of breaking point (in my case, I had an ovarian cyst rupture).

In order for introverts to avoid energy drains, they have to make time to rest and recharge on their own. Engaging in solitary activities like reading benefits introverts.

Photo of glasses resting on an open book.
Engaging in solo activities like reading benefits introverts because it’s an opportunity to recharge.

Main Benefit of Books & Reading: Achieving Flow

There is no straight path out of introvert burnout. Every person heals differently.

However, one way to overcome (and prevent) it is by engaging in an activity that leads to flow on a regular basis.

Flow is a concept by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, and it’s casually referred to as being “in the zone.” When we’re in flow, we are deep in focus and concentration. 

Being so deeply engaged in the present moment has a ton of potential benefits, including reduced stress. It gives your brain a break which allows your brain to recharge and reset.

This is why reading is a perfect activity to reach flow:

  • It’s immersive. A great book engages all five senses and your emotions too.
  • It’s challenging in a constructive way.
  • It also helps you disconnect from the outer world.
  • It can be cathartic.
  • It engages your creative brief.
Alexis Bledel Books GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Strategies for Using Reading to Recharge as an Introvert

Read What You Want

The most important thing is to pick books you’re excited to read. Now, this seems straightforward enough, but it might actually require redefining what “excited to read” means to you.

Sometimes we’re tempted to buy a book because of its popularity or reputation. In theory, we’re excited to read it, but we don’t consider what the experience of actually reading it will feel like.

It’s so important to consider how it will feel to read a book in practice because that’s actually going to impact your daily experience.

Remember, you’re not trying to impress anyone. You’re trying to build a habit that engages you in the long-term. When you read to lower your stress, you should want to read AND it should feel good.

Allow yourself to skip the literary and cult classics (unless this is what you’re into) if those drag on. Instead, consider a genre you previously dismissed, like Young Adult, Fantasy, or Romance.

Permit yourself to skip books with heavy subjects or complicated (or confusing) world-building and explore cozy reads instead.

Start Tiny

The second-most important strategy is to start tiny. This can be as tiny as reading a sentence a day. 

Starting tiny will ensure you can stick to your reading habit no matter what comes up during the day, and it also helps avoid any feelings of pressure, discomfort, or disappointment.

This strategy is rooted in Tiny Habits, a method proven to build habits that stick and create long-lasting changes in behavior.

Research has shown that starting with a tiny habit and celebrating yourself for completing it is infinitely more impactful because it allows you to be consistent and avoid any of the overwhelm associated with building a new habit.

This strategy can also apply to the length and content of the books you choose. Start with short books so you can build momentum. If reading fantasy, select books with straightforward world-building (sometimes called beginner fantasy) so you don’t get overwhelmed or confused.

Annotate Freely

To further immerse yourself in what you’re reading, consider annotating from the heart.

This can take several forms. 

You might highlight quotes or scenes that brought up certain emotions. You might use color-coded tabs to remember pivotal moments: things that stuck out to you, that made you feel, that you want to remember. And it might even look like writing your reactions in the margins of the pages. Things like “this made me cry!” or “I love this!” 

This might help you stay present and connect with the book.

Designate A Reading Spot

Making space for your reading practice could be very helpful! 

Designating a spot might make your reading practice feel special. It can also help you subtly reinforce boundaries with others in your home (for example, “If I’m in my reading spot, I’m not to be bothered”).

You can make it as cozy as you’d like using throw pillows and blankets. You can also make it a sensory experience by lighting incense or candles.

If you choose to annotate, keeping your annotation supplies near your designated reading spot could be helpful.

Image of a pair of glasses resting on an open book on a comfortable couch.
There is no right way to read, but romanticizing reading can help build the habit by increasing the positive feelings that come from reading.

Keep a Book Journal

Recording your thoughts, reactions, and lessons learned in a book journal could also contribute to your reading habit by giving you a place to reflect.

It’s also an opportunity to celebrate your accomplishment (reading) and another potential creative outlet.

Permission to DNF (Did Not Finish)

We’ve all been there – you pick up a book that’s either highly rated, viral on the internet, or at the top of the bestseller list… and it just doesn’t live up to the hype.

You think, “When is this going to get good?” yet you keep reading (even though it’s not good). 

Maybe you feel ashamed to be in the minority (after all, everyone else is raving about it), or maybe you feel embarrassed because a colleague or friend highly recommended this book. Or maybe you feel guilty because you spent money* on it.

But pushing yourself to finish a book that’s not engaging or a downright drag is not noble – it’s counterproductive. In this case, give yourself permission to stop reading and seek out another book.

Again, reading to recharge your energy at the end of a stressful day should feel good! Forcing yourself to read a book you don’t enjoy is the opposite of that.

*When getting back into reading, using apps like Libby or subscriptions like Kindle Unlimited gives you the option to explore countless books at no to low cost. I highly recommend trying Libby or KU while you’re exploring what genres, tropes, and authors are your favorites.

How Reading Has Improved My Life

As a kid, you couldn’t stop me from reading. I constantly begged my parents to drive me to the library. There were days I stayed up till the early hours of the morning to finish a book. I attended midnight release parties. Reading was a source of endless joy.

Read Beauty And The Beast GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

This carried on through my teens and college years. But when I began working full-time in my 20s, I gave up reading fiction in pursuit of more “serious” activities (read: overworking).

So for a decade, I only bought business or self-development books that were “serious” (yes, I’m rolling my eyes at myself too).

There was just one problem… you couldn’t pay me enough to read them.

As a result, I barely finished a book in ten years… but I bought at least 100 books.

I had a shelf filled with books that were supposed to make me feel more mature, but they just made me feel like a failure.

Fast forward to me feeling so burned out that I could cry 24/7

On a whim, I browsed Audible and downloaded an audiobook based on its cover (I’d seen it at Target). The experience of hearing this book sparked so much joy in me that I immediately bought the rest of series (A Court of Thorns and Roses).

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was quickly redefining what was “acceptable” to me.

For the first time in what felt like a lifetime, I let myself read fantasy, fantasy romance, and contemporary romance. These books were infinitely more engaging than the business and self-development books I’d been buying, and they were all-consuming. So much so that I’ve read over 100 books a year for the last two years. 

There are so many reasons why I burned out, but I now see that cutting out reading for 10 years also meant cutting out the benefits of reading.

Reading is a daily practice for me now, and I don’t go anywhere without my Kindle or a book. It isn’t just fun. It gives my brain a much-deserved break. After reading a good book, I feel like I’ve deeply meditated.


Introvert burnout is a genuine concern but it can be managed and prevented. Making time for rest and recharge daily is one of the main things introverts can do to care for themselves, and reading is an excellent way to rest and recharge.

Making books a part of your introvert self-care routine can have a positive ripple effect. Reading benefits introverts in so many ways.

Reading is not just an escape – it can be a pathway to healing, less stress, and well-being.

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