Wait, is that a thing?!
You bet your tail, it is! If you’re an introvert like me, you probably read the title and knew exactly what I’m referring to. Or maybe you’ve never heard it before, but you want to better understand why your best friend/partner/child struggles after a busy social event or weekend.
Drawing from my experiences as a highly sensitive INFJ, this is what I’ve learned:
Post-socializing symptoms can range from extreme “introverting” to physical hangover-like headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Depending on how introverted you are, how sensitive to overstimulation, and how much time you spent in the presence of crowds, this hangover can last up to several days.
Contrary to popular belief, most introverts are not shy or people-haters. We simply build up our energy in solitude, and quickly feel drained when around people for extended periods of time.
We tend to be introspective, with so much going on in our minds at any given moment. My husband is learning to not assume I’m upset at him when I’ve been silent for a bit longer than is normally comfortable; I’m simply processing, planning, or just plain dreaming. There is a whole rich world inside my head that I’d love to be able to show people… In all honesty it’s probably why I write.
With all this activity WITHIN us, is no wonder we feel overstimulated in a social setting.
So how do we overcome this?
1. Take a day for rest. Set aside the time to let your body know that it is loved and cared for. Clear your to-do list. Create space for yourself to fully relax, with no expectations and no responsibilities. Listen to music. Meditate. If you have young kids at home, find another (possibly introverted) mom to trade childcare with, just for a couple of hours.
2. Read good fiction. There is no escape quite like diving into literature for an hour or two. I’m not above a fluffy novel to give my brain a break from deep internal thoughts.
3. Wear comfy clothes. Yes, we can be super sensory, and sometimes we gotta break out the flannel. No shame here!
4. Drink lots of water. Seriously though. Is there anything not cured by hydrating?!
5. Avoid electronic stimulation. This is not the time to be keeping tabs on Instagram followers or watching mindless Facebook videos. Even Netflix can interrupt your recovery and even cause more anxiety if you’re already feeling overstimulated.
6. Go for a walk. Get out in nature. Breathe in the fresh air and keep those muscles moving. Even if you don’t feel up to an HIIT workout, you can benefit greatly – both emotionally and physically – from a walk outdoors.
7. Avoid caffeine. Ok so hear me out. I’m a coffee addict too. But when you’re already feeling anxious? Caffeine is not your friend.
8. Be open with your spouse/significant other. Let them know how you’re feeling and that your need for space does not reflect poorly on your relationship. Explain that you will be able to be more fully present once you’ve taken care of yourself. If you’re in a relationship with an extrovert, it is often very confusing for them; please don’t expect them to be mind readers!
I’d love to hear from… Are you familiar with the introvert hangover? Or have you struggled to understand someone that you love? Let me know in the comments!