I’m a pretty introverted person, so the idea of an introvert hangover is something I’m familiar with. I usually manage to avoid it, though. There’s a story my dad tells that pretty well warned me to watch how I was feeling and get some time outside as needed. But I’ve never quite reached the level that it was entirely necessary. At least, not until recently.
For those who are unfamiliar (unlikely if you’re reading my blog but hey, ya never know), an introvert hangover is when an introverted person spends a lot of time around people and feels crappy because of it. It’s not that you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, necessarily, or that the people are awful, but your brain just decides that enough is enough and it’s time to demand a break.
What normally happens to me is I get rather tired, and on rare occasions I get a headache. I’m pretty good about regulating when I need to take a breather. I’ve gotten a bit better about it in recent years, so particularly if it’s a smaller group, I can usually just stand the whole thing. I think it also helped once I had my own car and could drive myself. It’s easier to handle some things if you know you can remove yourself when the time comes.
And then a very busy week happened. It wasn’t the worst, but it was incessant. I was hanging out with people 5 out of 7 days in the week, and the other two days I was at work, which is lovely and fantastic and doesn’t tax my introvert energy but also doesn’t let it recharge. And then after that was the day I crashed. It was a larger, more stressful event. Not a happy event, and by chance it was on the same day as an event I used to attend annually and for the first time since I was six, I wasn’t going to be there. I thought I would be fine. Instead I had a bit of a breakdown which ended with me going home early, and dealing with a headache and nausea for the rest of the day.
Naturally, the next morning I woke up just fine. It was just one very long week. And through it all “I was fine” so I didn’t take the moments needed to rest and rejuvenate my mind. Lesson learned. Keep an eye on the signs, and take more walks outside away from people.
So now I know to be a bit more careful about taking the time to breathe. Anyone else out there who thought they had it handled but then your brain decided “nope”?