Sorry guys for not being on for awhile. Like last month, I had one weekend where I very social (one of those days was my 32nd birthday), but then on Monday I was tired and I STILL had to work. The LAST thing I wanted to be was to be social. I’ve never been THIS social in my life…or at least with people I wanted to be with. But even if, it’s mentally EXHAUSTING.
Perhaps it’s because I’m always overthinking of several possible ways the outing could go wrong and what I should or shouldn’t say if it should arise and then when I arrive at the place and meet the people, I feel like my body begins to analyze the surroundings and people as well as the people I’m with. My whole body gets jittery and I get tired from the overthinking and/or I forget what I wanna say in the crowd.
However for the most part, my outings don’t turn out that bad, but because of the anxiety from going outside and “peopleling” too long. I’m zonked. I don’t wanna meet up with anyone for the next few days or month. I don’t feel like doing anything or socializing whether in real life and on the internet. I didn’t feel like reading people’s blogs and it was harder for even for me to write anything. Not that I didnt have any ideas (’cause I got tons of them), I just didn’t have the energy to write them down. It was as if my body and mind was recovering from just those 3 days. Apparently, what I had was called an “introvert hangover”. Yes it’s a real thing.
There’s not an exact definition to this strange phenomenon—introvert hangovers–but there is an awareness of what people face when this happens (Learning Mind, 2018):
- Feeling exhausted
- Experiencing resentment and irritability
- Feeling flat and empty and even depressed
- Feeling over emotional or tearful
- Feeling guilty
- Experiencing anxious thoughts
- Feeling like you are not good enough
So…how do these symptoms affect the introvert? Let’s use science to help us figure this out. There was a study done where after 3 hours of socializing, participants who either introverts or extroverts reported higher levels fatigue. And could you blame them? Socializing does require energy, for example, to talk and/or listen or process what’s going on. So these participants BOTH encountered similar problems, but with one minor difference…the amount of dopamine levels these two types of people have. Plus, it depends on how they respond to “rewards”. So you now you may ask, what do those two have to do with another? I’ll explain how.
Okay, so rewards like could be, getting the number of an attractive person or getting promoted at a job or even as something as simple like eating a sandwich (which could explain why for me, I don’t feel like making a meal and after I push myself to do so, I look forward to eating, ’cause I already sampled it while cooking) (Granneman, 2017). Such rewards would stimulate and excite the extrovert, but for the introvert…it’s work. So what’s responsible for providing this…”reward” sensation? Dopamine.
Keep in mind, that dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. The more active the dopamine reward system, the more a person is likely to be energized and excited (Granneman, 2017). The extrovert is more likely to have more active dopamine reward system, than an introvert. Why? Well…perhaps due to a dysfunctional dopamine reward system, which may have caused by short-term or long-term trauma, pain or trauma (Vandergriendt, 2018). I know speaking for myself , yes, I believe the long term trauma I faced during childhood caused my dopamine levels to suffer.
I’d also like to point out that—according to the web article titled, Introvert Hangovers Are An Actual Thing Here’s What They Are–that past scientific studies have discovered that introverts have a lot of neuronal activity in their reticular activating system, the part of the brain that deals with external stimiuli and making introverts highly sentisive to external stimuli
Overall, while it did take me about a month to recover, I am doing better than before, but I’m still just as busy. It’s not I don’t love the people I’m with, I need time to regather myself and regather my thoughts.At least I know what is so I can use self-care activities to get me out of the rut. There is not a perfect way for this to happen, but perhaps this list could help give you an idea of a relieving activity that is perfect for you (Learning Mind, 2018):
- Clear your schedule– It may mean you will have to cancel on plans on friends, but don’t feel bad this… it’s to be able to give yourself time to regather yourself.
- Meditate–Whether it includes mindful walking, journaling (or even blogging. I find blogging helps me) or the actual mediating itself, it can help you calm your mind and help you to refocus.
- Do Something That Helps You Relax– You know what that is.. It could be hiking or crocheting or blogging or painting… Whatever (positive) activity you do, do that and don’t feel guilty for it. Which even for me I’m trying learn to do, even though I have a test next Friday, but I’m blogging because it helps me not be in my thoughts so much and that hopefully tomorrow will be a new day and I can really focus on studying.
- Take A Nap— Yeah after being around people and kids all day, I come straight home and take a nap. When around people all the time, it’s like you’re indirectly and unknowingly absorbing everything and everyone around you, so it can deplete you of energy. So don’t feel bad…take a nap! You’ll be glad that you did.
- Eat Nourishing Food—if you’re like me after all that socializing, you’re most likely going to turn to your favorite sweets to gain all that energy back. Don’t. Get something that good to eat, but isn’t loaded with sugar (usually processed foods).
- Take a Look At Your Schedule- Make sure to take the time to plan out times you do hang out with your family and friends. So hopefully this way, you don’t have to encounter an introvert hangover.
Granneman, J. (2017) .Why Socializing Drains Introverts More Than Extroverts. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-secret-lives-introverts/201708/why-socializing-drains-introverts-more-extroverts
Learning Mind (n.d.). 8 Introvert Hangover Symptoms and How to Avoid and Relieve Them. Retreved from https://www.learning-mind.com/introvert-hangover-symptoms/
Percival, T (n.d.). Introvert Hangovers Are An Actual Thing Here’s What They Are. Retrieved from https://www.unilad.co.uk/health/introvert-hangovers-are-an-actual-thing-heres-what-they-are/
Vandergriendt, C. (2018). What’s the Difference Between Dopamine and Serotonin? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/dopamine-vs-serotonin