The ‘introvert hangover’

I’m currently experiencing what I describe as an ‘introvert hangover’.

After a period of intense social activity, I can often feel a bit out-of-sorts. Nothing terrible, just a bit tired and headachey and conscious that I’m less productive, focused and resourceful than usual.

I’m pretty sure I’m not the only person who experiences this. In fact I’ve talked to lots of people who describe something similar.

For those of us who recharge by spending time alone being quiet, it can be easy to get a little bit overwhelmed by the world. It’s not that we don’t enjoy being out there in it, it’s just that being in stimulating environments with interesting people generates lots of ‘data’ to be processed. All that filing, categorising, making sense of, takes some doing. It’s like updating software on your computer whilst simultaneously trying to carry on with business as usual. Sometimes everything just grinds to a halt for a bit.

I notice that I can feel a bit anxious about the fact that I’m prone to these ‘hangovers’. I can think that I should be different from how I am. I can be tempted to try and distract myself with food or fidgeting or analysing things. But none of those things really help.

Here are some things that do:

  • Accepting that this just happens sometimes. It’s not wrong or something to be fixed. It just is – and, soon enough, it will pass.
  • Practising radical self-care. Allowing time for silence, rest, eating and drinking healthily, getting outside, breathing deeply, exercising…
  • Explaining to others that it may not be possible to be as productive / communicative / creative or energetic as usual on days like these but that normal service will resume shortly.
  • Taking a shower and enjoying the white noise, the immersive experience and the symbolic value of washing away all the accumulated busy-ness.
  • Doing something distracting and unstressful – like watching or reading something entertaining, doing a puzzle or playing a computer game.

Some people find that it helps to have a cry – not necessarily because they feel sad or that there’s anything wrong – but simply because it can be an effective way of discharging tension in the body. Others find they can physically shake it off. Yet others find that breathing techniques and mindfulness can help them to move through the experience more quickly and easily.

So I’m curious… Do you ever experience this?

And if you do – what do you find helps?

2 thoughts on “The ‘introvert hangover’”

  1. Yes, this really resonates with me!
    I need to stay at home and potter or in extreme cases completely withdraw from contact with people including phone calls.
    Epsom salts baths, lying under a tree, meditating outdoors, crafts, EFT (tapping) and watching nature, the clouds, the bees, the wind in the trees all help restore me.

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