If you’re an introvert, you’ll know instinctively what is meant by the term “introvert hangover” without need for further explanation.
I can practically guarantee that every introvert frequently experiences these hangovers, even if they do their best to remain people-free.
An introvert hangover has nothing to do with alcohol or any other substances; it occurs when an introvert has spent too much time “peopling,” which basically means socialising for more than 30 minutes for the majority of introverts.
Introverts are far more sensitive to the energy that vibrates outside their personal space than others, which causes them to pick up on frequencies from other people and their surrounding environment at a far greater intensity. They are deeply intuitive souls, and because they are ultra sensitive to other people’s energy levels, this is likely to result in an overwhelming desire to retreat and spend time alone.
Introverts are highly introspective; therefore, they have an incredible amount of data constantly flowing through their minds—particularly when they are surrounded by other people. This means that socializing for an introvert can be a minefield as they can get so preoccupied with observing and analyzing other people’s thoughts and feelings, as well as what is being said, that introverts end up pondering every response, projecting their emotions, and becoming overwhelmed and overstimulated.
Socializing drains the introvert battery at a ridiculously fast speed. Part of the reason for this is that introverts recharge when they are alone and immersed in their rich inner world. If they are in situations where they are surrounded by people, or stimuli such as loud noises, bright lights, and crowds of people, introverts may quickly become overwhelmed and feel the need to escape and recharge their energy.
Many introverts will notice that they slow down and are unable to string a coherent sentence together the longer they are in the company of other people, particularly if there is a lot of verbal communication taking place around them. Even if an introvert isn’t actively conversing and they are just listening to other people speak, they can still endure severe energy depletion.
When socially interacting, introverts may find themselves starting to dissociate from the people around them, their eyes may glaze over, and they might find themselves entering a trance-like state while struggling to stay awake. This may sound extreme to those who are extroverted, but the struggle is real and other then disengaging, there is literally very little that introverts can do about it.
This is why it is vital that introverts take time out for themselves when socialising, even if that just means going to the restroom, or to a tranquil space, where they can rebalance their energy levels and prepare themselves for the next bout of social engagement.
Whether introverts take regular breaks or not, they most likely will suffer from overstimulation from socialising, which can lead to extreme fatigue, and in many ways this exhaustion feels similar to a hangover. These hangovers can occur while the social activity is taking place, immediately following it, or they may come a day or two later.
The symptoms of an introvert hangover are:
>> Feeling emotionally frazzled.
>> Being unable to think clearly.
>> Pounding headache.
>> Aching muscles and a feeling of physical heaviness.
>> Wanting to sleep.
>> Chronic fatigue.
>> Nausea, dizziness, and sickness.
>> Knots in stomach.
>> Finding it difficult to concentrate.
>> Struggling to make decisions.
>> Mood swings.
Many introverts will find they need to rest for the entire day after experiencing too much social stimulation. It is common for introverts to not want to talk to anyone, maybe other than one or two people they are extremely close to, and it is unlikely that they will answer their phones or make plans to do anything that feels emotionally or mentally strenuous.
Here are a few tips to help recover from an introvert hangover:
>> Ground your energy by drinking plenty of water, breathing deeply, practicing meditation, and standing barefoot on the earth or grass.
>> Rest as much as possible, and don’t feel guilty about saying no to anything non-urgent that compromises your peace.
>> Eat high-vibrational foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
>> Disconnect from technology and read a book, watch a feel-good movie, or relax in the company of someone who understands you and is someone you can let your guard down with.
>> Take an Epsom salt bath, light candles, and put on soothing background music.
>> Wear your cosiest pajamas or loungewear, with fabrics that are soft and gentle on the skin.
>> Be creative: draw, paint, sing, play a musical instrument, or dance and shake off any negative energies.
>> Write down how you are feeling and allow everything that’s playing on your mind to spill out onto the paper.
If possible, spend time by water, as water is a natural emotional cleanser. Another amazing neutraliser of highly-charged emotions is the forest, so head out for a woodland walk and just listen to the breeze of the trees and the sound of wildlife.
Stay snuggled up in bed or on the sofa with a cozy blanket for the entire day.
Try not to think too much as the mind can be totally exhausting at times. Instead, when persistent thoughts occur, repeat feel good mantras such as, “All is calm, peaceful, and serene,” and really feel into the words and hold onto the harmonious sensations they offer.
The overall cure for an introvert hangover is to spend time in solitude, or around someone the person is relaxed and comfortable with, and to take things easy and not feel at all guilty that they feel debilitated when other people (mainly extroverts) are full of energy.
Extroverts are the opposite to introverts as they recharge their energy externally, not internally, which is why they can spend day after day surrounded by people or engaged in activities without it draining their energy reserves.
It is common for introverts to be wrongly judged as rude or ignorant while at social events, as they may hide out in dark and quiet places while everyone else is seemingly enjoying loud and vibrant interactions. However, introverts aren’t being rude, they have simply entered self-preservation, as to continue trying to communicate in highly-charged environments could easily lead them to experience a full-blown meltdown.
It isn’t just social events that drain introverts and cause hangovers; places such as supermarkets, activities where there are a lot of children around, and busy workplaces can lead an introvert to experience an overload of stimulation.
This is why calm and quiet places are much preferred, although it’s essential to remember that too much time alone with an overactive, deep-thinking mind can also cause burnout, so as much as introverts may not want to, it is vitally important to find balance and frequently head outdoors, even if it is just to take a walk in fresh air.
Author: Alex Myles
Image: Introvert Doodles: An Illustrated Look at Introvert Life in an Extrovert World
Editor: Travis May
Copy & Social Editor: Catherine Monkman