A different type of hangover with no alcohol involved and very real physical symptoms…
In this episode I share:
Pressing Pause Episode 114 The introvert hangover
Welcome to Pressing Pause, I’m your host, Gabrielle Treanor, a coach, writer, introvert and sensitive soul with an inclination to ponder over the stuff of life. Join me as I explore how we can create, find and feel more calm, ease and joy in our daily lives.
Before we get in to today’s episode I wanted to let you know about the letters I send by email every week or so, which I call The Haven. I call it that because these letters are a place where you can take a breath, find comfort and understanding, inspiration and ideas to overcome your overwhelm and move forward with more calm and joy.
The Haven is designed to soothe and inspire and in these letters I share my own experiences and insights, practical and actionable takeaways that you can try out in your own life, I recommend books, podcasts, talks and more, and you get a treat in your birthday month!
You will also be the first to know about the new resources I create to support you in living with more calm, peace, ease and joy.
These letters are a place where we can connect without the shoutiness of social media and as I’m spending much less time on social media the Haven emails really are the best way to hear more from me.
So, go to gabrielletreanor.com/haven to sign up and get weeklyish letters from me.
Okay then, let’s get on with the episode!
Welcome to episode 114. A few weeks ago, I woke up on a Monday feeling utterly exhausted. It was an effort to walk up stairs, my limbs felt like lead and my brain was so foggy I couldn’t think straight.
I was wondering if I was coming down with something when I realised what it was – an introvert hangover.
I’d had no alcohol the night before but after an extremely sociable weekend, as an introvert my whole being was utterly depleted and that’s what was making me feel so wiped out.
I’ve heard introversion explained as though introverts start the day with five coins. As they go through social encounters and situations they spend coins so by the end of the day the coins are gone and along with it their energy.
Whereas extroverts start the day with no coins and instead gain coins with every social interaction so by the day’s end they’re feeling enriched.
So, going with this metaphor, I think I had gone into an introvert overdraft by Monday morning!
For those of us who are towards the introverted end of the scale, and it is a scale, it’s so powerful to know this about ourselves. To know that our brain chemistry – it’s got a lot to do with sensitivity to dopamine – means that we are depleted by spending time in company, however lovely the company is, however much we want to be with them and however much we enjoy ourselves at the time.
And that time and space to recover our energy is as essential as refilling a car’s tank after driving for several hundred miles.
Without this knowledge and understanding, we can think there’s something medically wrong with us (and of course please don’t hesitate to get medical advice if you’re concerned). Or we can berate ourselves for being weak or not as energetic as other people. Or our bewilderment at why we feel so exhausted makes us feel even more overwhelmed.
I’ve understood my introversion for quite a long time and I’m usually pretty adept at planning my schedule and managing my energy around social situations. But this took me by surprise!
And sometimes it’s going to be quite tricky to avoid an introvert hangover, or going into your introvert overdraft, because of commitments or circumstances or because you simply really want to do whatever it is that is also going to drain your energy.
What’s important is what happens next, when you’re faced with the reality of an empty internal fuel tank, and I have four suggestions for you.
Number 1: Recognise the truth – your introverted brain chemistry (remember around half the population is introvert, half extrovert so this is normal) is why you feel so worn out, it’s not because of a personal failing or inadequacy.
Number 2: Focus on the essentials – look again at the plan you made for the day and pull out only what is essential for that day, setting aside what can wait until tomorrow – more than you might initially think can wait. (On that Monday there was a lot on my to do list but I decided most of it could be dealt with the next day without the world falling apart.
Number 3: Refill your tank – in whatever way feels good for you and is doable. That could be going back to bed, reading quietly, taking a gentle stroll in nature… most likely it will involve some alone time. For me that looked like falling asleep for two hours (I know!), reading and then going for a walk along the river.
And number 4: Help future you – look through your diary for what’s already scheduled in the coming weeks that could deplete your energy through spending time with people or in stimulating environments, and see where you can add in buffers afterwards to give yourself the space to replenish your energy stores. You can also write a note to remind future you of this experience the next time you wake with an introvert hangover.
So, over to you, do the ideas of an introvert hangover or going into your introvert overdraft sound familiar to you?
And, if this is ringing some bells with you you might like to know that I have written a free guide all about how introverts can lower their overwhelm. You can get the free guide and there are others available too, at gabrielletreanor.com/free.
Thank you for listening to Pressing Pause, you can find details of what I shared in this episode in the show notes at gabrielletreanor.com/podcast.
And if you enjoyed this podcast it would mean so much to me if you could leave a rating or review on iTunes. Reviews make a big difference to how podcasts are found and I would love for more people to find this podcast.
As I said at the start of this episode if you would like to hear more from me you can do by signing up to the Haven, my weeklyish emails. You’ll find comfort and understanding, inspiration and ideas to move forward with more calm and joy. Just go to gabrielletreanor.com/haven to find out more.
And if you’d like to share your thoughts on this podcast or anything else feel free to drop me a line at [email protected]
Thanks again for listening, until next time.
Throughout this website and my work when I refer to women I include people identifying as women.
If you have, or think you may have, a mental health problem that requires professional diagnosis or treatment, please consult a mental health care professional and your GP.
You can also talk to the people at Mind on 0300 123 3393 or SANE on 0300 304 7000 or Samaritans on 116 123.
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