Most introverts find that if they’ve been among a large group for a number of days (or even hours) they become drained and exhausted, a bit like having hangover! An introvert hangover, where you’ve over done the socialising (doesn’t always take much!) and now you feel lethargic, drained and maybe even achy (well one person reported that). Those are introvert hangover symptoms, so what’s the cure?
What causes the introvert hangover?
A defining points of an introvert is feeling drained by social interaction. OK, everybody feels drained after too much social interaction, but introverts have a lower tolerance so the feeling comes quicker. Feeling drained, lethargic, generally ‘blah’ and not wanting to engage with other people is the result. The symptoms can vary in strength for different people and at different times.
There is even a biochemical explanation for this. Studies have shown that introverts are more sensitive to dopamine than extroverts. Dopamine is sometimes called the feel good chemical that our body naturally produces when stimulated. Sensitivity means you’re likely to feel more tired, more quickly. It also explains why everybody eventually gets tired of socialising.
What’s the ideal cure?
If you’re good at planning and have the time spare, a recovery day before and afterwards make a lot of sense. Before going to a conference I’ll keep the diary clear on the day before and afterwards.
Before makes sure you’re as fresh as possible on arrival. Try things that are easy and refreshing. Maybe pottering around at home, light work, housework, a long walk. Things so you’ve got less to worry about the next day, clear the decks.
Afterwards is about recovery. Acknowledge this is how you’ll feel, plan to do something about it. Some introverts spend time alone (possibly even without partner!). Do something relaxing that allows you to recover and wipes your mind of the hangover! What is meaningful for you and stops you thinking about anything (so you’re not even worrying about recovering!)? Long bath, duvet day, lazing around, box-set on Netflix, going for a run, long walk and then slobbing out; what works for you? Don’t focus on clearing your mind and don’t worry about the fact that you’re tired, or it’s harder to recover!
Some people need more than a day! Know yourself and plan accordingly, where possible.
What’s the rapid cure to an introvert hangover?
What happens when you can’t manage to get time off? Maybe you didn’t expect to feel shattered, loads of people turned up unexpectedly, or you’re just too busy to take two days off?
- Minimise the impact : During the conference/ event/ team meeting minimise the build up of the problem. Take small breaks during the event where you escape from everybody (walk, hide in your room, sit quietly somewhere, even sit in the toilet for a few minutes – walking maybe the healthiest of these). In those snatched few minutes concentrate on relaxing, not thinking. Enjoy the quiet, perhaps even meditate if that’s your thing (5 minutes can work wonders). It’s not perfect, but can help you through it.
- Easing your recovery: You’ve been to the event, you minimised the impact of your introvert hangover, and have to work the next day. How can you practice self care the next day too? Small breaks as mentioned above, early night, get out at lunch time can all help.
Do you get the introvert hangover, and how do you cure it?
In this episode of "Activate Your Introvert" I answer the common question - what is an introvert?