On Breaking a Homebody Habit (And Why You Sometimes Should)

published Nov 8, 2014
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I love to walk into my home and see all the color and pattern I’ve stuffed into every corner. I love drowning in my stacks of books. Seeing the art I’ve collected over the years, a visual record of my evolving tastes. I love the way my couch hugs my back when I cuddle up with my cat and throw blankets. It’s my most favorite place in the whole world. But as an introvert, my home can sometimes be more than just a retreat. It can be a siren on an island, luring me into its warm embrace and never letting me sail away again. With colder temperatures on the way, I’m reminding myself that there are times for being a homebody, and there are times when venturing out is nice, too.

A few nights of being a homebody for me can sometimes stretch into weeks, with the excuses for not going out given to friends getting more elaborate (and undoubtedly transparent). The comfort of staying in and avoiding the inevitable uncomfortable-ness of real life — like saying something dumb or you know, being a vulnerable human — is just too powerful to resist sometimes.

Comfort can be contagious

Then I’ll begin to not pick up around the apartment as much, because one sitting session turns into one unending one — why refold the throw blankets when you’re just gonna be using them again in a few minutes? Before I know it, comfort is glazing every aspect of my life — from what I choose to wear to what I cook for dinner. Adventure — stepping out of comfort zones, being bold, wanting to see new things, try new recipes — is replaced with constant familiarity. Aided by the internet, and all the stories to soak up through a screen, I go from writing my own story to merely reading the stories of others. Why move when you can scroll?

(Image credit: Rebecca Bond)

The homebody habit can sometimes keep out joy

Home can sometimes shield me from awkwardness and unpleasantness, sure, but it can keep me away from a lot of joy, too. From the surprising conversations you can have when connecting with acquaintances over a few drinks to seeing art in person.

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Distance can make home seem even more wonderful

No one, certainly not me, is implying you should never do a little hibernating at home. If you’ve spent a lot energy on a home you love, you should spend as much time in it as you like appreciating it. And sometimes, using home as a healing place is exactly what you need in your life at a given moment.

But for me, getting a little space from my home (and Netflix) every now and then makes me appreciate it more. After all, you can’t experience the wonderful feeling of returning home to your favorite place after a long day or trip if all you’ve ventured out to in the past month is the mailbox.

Start with sharing

I think that’s why sharing your home a lot is important, because you’re not just inviting friends and acquaintances over to share your favorite space, you’re also inviting — and adding — life to your home. Maybe start there, if you’ve found yourself in a long stretch of unwanted homebody-ness (the key word being unwanted, because again, you might be in a very needed, wanted homebody streak) you’re having a hard time breaking. Invite folks over and write a small, simple story that way. Then add to the your life’s novel by adventuring out, slowly at first if you need, or by making a big leap. Home will be here when you get back.

Can anyone else relate? Share your tips on breaking a long homebody streak in the comments below.