Restorative Niches

These two words have revolutionized my world.

They come from a delightful book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.


I am an introvert. I need downtime. I am often drained by large groups, small talk, and over stimulation. I am energized by small groups, deep talking, and time alone. Sometimes I have control over my schedule, but often I don’t. I do not want to be angry when I feel drained of energy. I want to combat such feelings through the use of restorative niches.

Cain understands feelings of anxiety leading up to large group activities and fatigue that can follow. Her solution is to find small slivers of time and space to recharge — which she calls restorative niches. This can be just about anything. Eating lunch alone. Walking outside. Listening to your favorite song. Even hiding from others in a bathroom stall (yes, this really happened!)

I’m experiencing a restorative niche right now. I’m sitting in a corner of Washington Dulles Airport, people watching, and writing this post. Travel can be stressful and the early mornings and uncertainty of schedules can leave me drained. My second leg of this flight was delayed, but instead of stressing, I’m reveling in this carved out block of time which I can claim, be purposeful in its use, and let it restore my soul.

Cain was careful (and accurate) to say that we all have some introvertedness and some extrovertedness in us. No one is solely one or the other. So, I ask you, friend — introvert or extrovert– what is your favorite restorative niche? What is the most surprising restorative niche you’ve ever experienced?

3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Definite introvert too, Kelly. I like to find quiet places at work and put on some music. I think running is a good restorative niche.

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