Have you ever been so drained after a long networking event or an unforgettable beach vacation with friends that you literally felt ill or totally sapped of energy? Well, it turns out you’re not totally crazy. The “introvert hangover” is 100 percent legitimate and can happen when you haven’t had an adequate amount of downtime to recharge. To get the scoop on how to help yourself feel better when you’re exhausted from too much socializing, we talked with Mary Beth Somich, a North Carolina-based counselor. Scroll on for five tips you can use to regulate your energy reserves while enjoying all of your social obligations. You’ll be back to your healthiest self in no time.
1. Give yourself permission to leave early. Mary Beth says, “As long as it’s acceptable and respectful at the time, or sometimes even when it’s not (if you feel that sense of introvert-claustrophobia), give yourself permission to leave the social situation.” You might need a few moments alone or to head home. Either way, go with your gut when you start feeling like it’s too much. Simply exit the social situation and find a place to be with yourself.
2. Practice deep breathing. Breathing is an especially important exercise if you begin to experience physical symptoms like the ones that Shawna Courter describes in a post on Introvert, Dear. She writes, “Your ears might ring, your eyes start to blur and you feel like you’re going to hyperventilate. Maybe your palms sweat. And then your mind feels like it kind of shuts down, building barriers around itself as if you had been driving on a wide open road, and now you’re suddenly driving in a narrow tunnel.” Yikes. That’s the worst kind of introvert hangover.
Mary Beth agrees with the importance of breathing when you start having physical reactions to too much people-time. “Breathing helps regulate the nervous system and inhibits stress-producing hormones,” she explains. “Breathing deeply for five to 10 minutes can significantly help you ease stress, anxiety and begin to recharge when you’re feeling overly drained.”
3. Say no to new commitments. “If you think you might have an introvert hangover, it’s important to stop running on empty,” Mary Beth advises. “While social obligations might continue to pile high, just saying ‘no’ and setting limits can be a healthy and ultimately more productive choice.” Before you RSVP “yes” next time, check your calendar to make sure you’ll have ample down time to recover between events.
4. Practice awareness. If you know that you’re an introvert and could become overwhelmed in certain social situations, Mary Beth suggests training yourself to be more aware and mindful of your thoughts and physical feelings. “You can feel more prepared heading into a social situation when you know your limits and where you’re at,” she says. Being aware of how you feel when you’re reaching your limit (like a major headache or tight chest) will give you time to say goodbye to your friends and leave before you’re just done.
5. Cut yourself some slack. Just because you’re an introvert or experience a social hangover definitely doesn’t mean that you’re not fun or you’re terrible at being with people. Mary Beth says, “Research has actually shown that introverts benefit from more valuable one-on-one conversations than extroverts do. They also tend to be better listeners and judges of social situations.” Everyone’s different and has their own set of social strengths, so give yourself a break while you perfect using yours.
Are you an introvert? Have you experienced a social “hangover?” Tell us what makes you feel better @BritandCo!
(h/t The Science of Us, Photos via Getty)