Do you fall on the introverted side of the MBTI personality scale?
If so, are you ever overwhelmed with feelings of emotional depletion, agitation, and extreme fatigue after an extended socialization period?
You're not alone; it's known as an “introvert or social hangover,” and millions deal with it.
So today, we're unpacking why it happens and the associated symptoms.
So if you’re in need of an introvert recharge, get comfy and pull up a screen — because this post is packed with information on how to get your groove back.
- What is an Introvert Hangover?
- 13 Introvert Hangover Signs to Watch Out For
- What Happens When Introverts Don't Get Alone Time?
- Ways to Recharge After An Introvert Hangover
What is an Introvert Hangover?
Socialization hangovers happen when people with solitary sensibilities spend too much time around others, draining them of vim, vigor, and the patience to maintain a civil and engaged demeanor.
Why does it happen?
The condition is rooted in introverts' tendency to process information on deeper levels, which requires more mental energy.
It's not better or worse; every personality style has pluses and minuses.
Moreover, there are four types of introverts, and people with different introversion expressions may be more or less susceptible to social drainage.
- Social Introverts: People who enjoy spending oodles of time alone typically fall under the social introvert umbrella. They're not against hanging out with people but don't do it as much as other folks.
- Thinking Introvert: Psychologist Dr. Carla Marie Manly describes thinking introverts as people most content and “at peace when studying, reading, learning, researching, and investigating.”
- Anxious Introvert: Anxious introverts are often on edge and shy away from large gatherings. They're the most likely to experience intense emotional hangovers.
- Restrained Introvert: People who fall into this category are very reserved and don't open up to people they don't know well. Being at parties where small talk is required can be overwhelming for them.
Ultimately, it's impossible to avoid social exhaustion if you're an introvert who maintains some sort of social life.
However, it's wise for introverts to map out their limits (and we'll explain how below).
13 Introvert Hangover Signs to Watch Out For
How can you tell if you're suffering from an introvert hangover? Here's a list of social exhaustion signs.
1. Physically Tired
The most common sign of an introvert hangover is extreme exhaustion. Your mind and body will both feel spent. The only thing you'll want to do for hours is to watch back episodes of your favorite murder mysteries.
If, however, your tiredness lasts more than three days, consider making a doctor's appointment because something else may be going on.
2. Spaced Out
Have you ever found yourself staring at a wall or nothing in particular, and you temporarily slip into a state of “spaced-out nothingness.” The voices around you disappear, and you may even feel like you're weightless and floating in place. Someone may even have to “snap you out of it.”
If you regularly start falling into trances when you're out and about, it may be time to say goodbye and head home.
3. Muddled Thinking
When you're feeling your best, you're fluid and articulate. Your brain is a fertile meadow sewn with sprouting thoughts and witty associations. But when battling through an introvert hangover, the mind is more like a murky bog or parched desert — muddled, uninviting, and inhospitable to sharp thinking.
In addition to resting, eating healthy goes a long way in clearing up this symptom. Reach for fruits, vegetables, and good protein. Want to treat yourself? Spring for sushi takeout. Fish is “brain food.”
Normally, you're with it. You have a routine and generally make good decisions. But when an introvert hangover rolls in, all that decisiveness may dissipate like dew under a late-morning sun. You have difficulty making basic choices, and everything falls somewhere between “blah” and “revolting.”
In these instances, self-limit your options, and give yourself a break from decision-making.
For example, instead of scrolling through pages of Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, and Prime movies and shows, pick one streaming service to stick to for the day. From there, further limit yourself to choosing from the first five “recommended for you” options.
Typically, you have a healthy sense of self. Most days, you know who you are and how to stand in your truth. But when suffering through an introvert hangover, you may feel like a trapped alien. Some people even experience moments wherein their consciousness externalizes, making them feel like they're not themselves.
Energy depletion can drain your sense of self. Resultantly, feeling inauthentic is a common sign of social fatigue.
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6. Physical Sickness
In the not-too-distant past, physical and mental illness were seen as separate entities, and never the twain shall meet. Thankfully, copious peer-reviewed, double-blind studies have busted that myth, concluding that mental and physical health are inextricably linked.
So if you're feeling ill after a whirlwind of social engagements, you may not have the flu but a bad case of social overload.
Anxiety starts as a pit in your stomach that crawls up to your brain and eats away at your peace of mind. The sensation is so unsettling it makes you want to hide. In the wake of social overstimulation, extreme introverts may experience this phenomenon.
If you find yourself feeling worried about every little thing, and you're typically more even keel, you may be experiencing an introvert hangover.
Another common symptom of an introvert hangover is an intense feeling of judgment. People with retiring-yet-probing personality types may think back to a given point at the event and play it repeatedly in their minds. In worst-case scenarios, they invent reasons why the moment in question somehow made them look stupid or shameful.
When they head out to run errands, they may even feel like extra eyes are on them for critical reasons.
One minute you're laughing; the next, you're weeping and wallowing like a professional mourner. At noon, going to dinner with friends seemed like a good idea; at 5:30 p.m., you're devising excuses (i.e., lies) about why you must cancel at the last minute.
In other words: You're moody to the point where it's affecting your behavior. Don't beat yourself up. It will pass. Mercurial moods are just another symptom of social exhaustion.
10. Strained Vocabulary
Your vocabulary may suffer when shaking off a social hangover. It may take several pronounced seconds to stumble upon the simplest of terms. And forget about trying to form articulate sentences punctuated with the occasional 50-cent word. When dealing with an over-stimulation katzenjammer, your cognitive function takes a breather and checks out for a bit.
Detachment is the feeling that you don't belong somewhere. You may even be at your local supermarket — somewhere you've been hundreds of times — and still feel like a “stranger in a strange world.” This sense of remoteness is common in the wake of jam-packed, energy-draining engagements.
Generally speaking, you're not a short-tempered person. But after a few consecutive days of intense interpersonal interactions, you may be snappier than a crocodile. That's why it's wise to spend a few days alone, recharging your engine, when working through a social hangover.
Sticking to a routine or working hard in the wake of a hyper-socialized situation is about as easy as quieting a colicky baby or excitable samoyed. So if you lose a few days of productivity, don't let it set you back miles. Accept the parameters of your personality style, foster practical flexibility, and understand that nobody is perfect, including you.
What Happens When Introverts Don't Get Alone Time?
Co-dependent people feel best around others. Introverts are the opposite. It's not that they're friendless loners devoid of social skills. In fact, introverts are often beloved and enjoy more genuine friends than the average person. It's just that they need more alone time to feel calm, balanced, rejuvenated, and, ultimately, happy.
What happens when people with solitary personalities don't get enough alone time? A handful of reactions are common:
- Intense (but temporary) feelings of anxiety and depression
- Social burnout
- Unfair criticism stemming from the wrong assumption that they're snooty or cold
- Physical illness
Since intense social stimulation can be overwhelming for introverts, they should take extra care when planning their schedules. If possible, they should avoid back-to-back engagements. Typically, one social event a weekend is plenty.
Moreover, introverts should weigh each event on its merits. A quiet dinner with a couple of girlfriends will likely be a lot less taxing than a black-tie gala.
Ways to Recharge After An Introvert Hangover
You're knee-deep in an emotional hangover. What will wash the moodiness right out of your hair and get you back on your balanced feet? Like an alcohol hangover, will greasy foods, Gatorade, and sleep do the trick? Kind of, but there's more to it. Let's look at a few reliable cures.
1. Rest and Indulge
In the immediate wake of a socialization overload, getting sleep is vital. Doing so rejuvenates your body and mind. Sometimes, it takes a day or two of committed relaxation to get back on your feet.
Also, indulge in your preferences. If listening to music or watching movies is your thing, have at it. If you want to “cheat” on your diet, go ahead (but try not to go overboard, as what we eat affects how we feel).
2. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is more than new-age nonsense. Respected scientific studies have repeatedly proved that meditation, yoga, and journaling profoundly and positively impact our mental well-being.
People who live “mindful” lives enjoy lower blood pressure, less anxiety and depression, more emotional balance, and improved cognitive function. Moreover, research suggests that people who practice mindfulness are more resilient than those who don’t.
3. Indulge in Your Favorite Pastimes
One of the best ways to rebalance your energies is to indulge in things you enjoy. Sporty, outdoorsy introverts should hit the hiking trail. If gardening calms your mind, break out the gloves and trowel.
And if you're happiest watching a true-crime marathon, put on your PJs and get comfy on that couch!
4. Say “Thanks But No Thanks”
A lot of introverts are kind and supportive. As such, they have a hard time turning down invitations. However, solitary personalities should master the art of saying, “Sorry, I can't.”
It may be awkward at first. Some folks even say it feels like lying, but not having the energy for an event is a perfectly valid reason for staying away and politely declining an invitation.
Send flowers or food if you want to add a special touch despite your absence. It's a thoughtful touch that the host will remember forever.
5. Get Moving
Exercise triggers the release of chemicals called endorphins that act as analgesics, which lower pain perceptions and act as a “euphoric” sedative. That's why people feel stupendous after working out or just walking outside.
So even though you may feel fatigued, try to get moving. Doing so will recharge your body's battery while simultaneously flooding it with “feel-good hormones.”
Reading truly is fundamental. It's an avenue to escapism, education, humor, and more. Plus, reading improves cognitive function and is a great way to decrease the amount of stress hormones coursing through your veins.
So if you're feeling down and out after a long social interaction, curl up with a few good books to regain emotional balance.
7. Journal and Schedule
It's okay to leave social events earlier than others. Your hosts will just be thrilled you made an effort to come for a bit — especially if they know your personality style. But how can you determine how much is too much?
Start by journaling after every event. Right down precisely how you feel, and make sure to date everything. After about two months' worth of “data,” read what you wrote and look for patterns. If you notice you're particularly drained after going out two days in a row, schedule accordingly moving forward.
Introverts are usually intriguing, thoughtful people who make terrific friends. But they need more time alone, so don't push them into being something they're not. It's okay if they don't come to every event. You don't love them because they're party animals.
And if you're an introvert, sit tall in your personality style. There's nothing wrong with being a more solitary person. It comes with copious benefits. The key is figuring out how much socialization you can handle. Once you lock that down and establish a schedule, your introverted hangovers will diminish.