An introvert hangover, also called introvert burnout, occurs when an introvert has spent too much time interacting with others and they feel exhausted and drained. Many people don’t realize that introverts can be very outgoing and enjoy social interactions. However, when they’ve had too much interaction and socializing with others they can feel exhausted and yes, hungover. Recovery includes quiet space, self-care, time alone, and the ability to turn inward to focus on thoughts and emotions.
What Is an Introvert?
An introvert is a person who draws their energy from their inner world, a personality trait known as introversion. They are usually introspective and analytical and tend to think carefully before speaking or making decisions. Contrary to common perception, being introverted is not the same as being shy or socially withdrawn.1
Unlike extroverts, who are energized by interactions with others, introverts are drained by social interactions, get their energy from being alone, and prefer to focus their energy on their inner world.2
What Is an Introvert Hangover?
An introvert hangover includes social fatigue, mental and physical exhaustion, and burnout felt by introverts after they have spent too much time socializing with others. This feeling occurs because introverts are drained by interactions with others and need time alone to recharge.
An introvert can go to a party and have fun, but they feel exhausted afterward, whereas an extrovert is more likely to feel energized and ready for more. Once an introvert is feeling hungover, this feeling will usually persist until they have had adequate time away from socializing to recharge and refresh.3
Signs of Introvert Hangover
A burned-out introvert can feel like they’ve been hit by a truck! They may feel exhausted, emotionally and mentally drained, or even physically unwell. Introverts describe feeling like they are mentally foggy, unable to focus and desperately craving time alone. An introvert hangover can happen after a single social event, or can build up over time when too many days pass without time alone.
The following are signs of introvert hangover:
- Feeling exhausted and drained
- Being easily irritated
- Craving alone time
- Having trouble sleeping
- Distraction or difficulty concentrating
- Body tension and aches
- Feeling emotionally overwhelmed
- Lack of motivation
15 Tips for How to Cope With Introvert Burnout
An introvert who has spent too much time with others is likely to feel exhausted and need time alone to think, relax and recharge. Introverts need to be aware of their own signals so they know when they are approaching burnout and can take care of themselves. With a little time, quiet and self-care, introverts can recharge and be ready to interact again.
The following are 15 ways to cope with an introvert hangover:
1, Spend Some Time Alone
When an introvert is exhausted by too much noise, stimuli, and interaction, the first step toward recovery is spending some alone time.1
2. Practice Physical Self Care
Physical self care can include movement, yoga or spending time outside in fresh air – anything that relaxes and recharges the body.
3. Practice Emotional Self-Care
Emotional self-care refers to tending to thoughts, feelings and emotions. Nurturing this inner world is especially important in order to recover from an introvert hangover and lower stress levels.
4. Enjoy Some Quiet
Introverts are more sensitive to noises, which can contribute to anxiety and distraction. Some time in the quiet can help an introvert regulate their nervous system.4
5. Write in a Journal
Introverts gain energy from their inner world, so journaling is a great way to process thoughts and feelings and get reconnected with oneself.
6. Take a Bath
A nice, warm bath with dim lighting and some good smelling bubbles might be just what an introvert needs to soothe their frazzled nerves.
7. Enjoy a Relaxing Hobby
Try a relaxing, solitary activity like knitting, reading, or doing a puzzle. This allows the brain to focus on something enjoyable while still enjoying time alone.
Meditation helps shift focus away from the noisy outer world, and inward to emotions, body sensations, and thoughts. Some ways to start are by doing a simple breath meditation or listening to a guided meditation, or using an app like Insight Timer.
9. Chill Out With Some TV
Watch a relaxing, uplifting show or movie that doesn’t require too much mental energy.
10. Drive Separately or Have Your own Ride Available
An introvert nearing their interaction limit doesn’t want to get stuck in a noisy, crowded situation. Always being sure to have an escape plan or a ride available is a good way to practice self-care.
11. Be Careful Not to Over-Isolate
Even introverts need community and support, and since introverts are so comfortable spending time alone they can be prone to isolation. This can lead to loneliness and depression. Be aware of the difference between healthy time alone and hiding from the world.
12. Get Comfortable With Saying No
A sure way for introverts to become burned out or hungover is by committing to too many social events. Introverts need to be selective about which and how many events and obligations they say yes to in order to avoid feeling completely exhausted and drained. Saying no to the things that aren’t really important or aligned can allow introverts the energy to be available for the things they really want to do!
13. Let People Know Ahead of Time How Long you Plan to Stay
Introverts can have a good time at social events, but often have a shorter time limit than their extroverted friends. By letting their hosts or companions know ahead of time how long they plan to stay, introverts can avoid awkwardness or guilt that may arise from leaving early.
14. Make a List of Restorative Activities
It can be helpful for introverts to write down all of the activities that are restorative and calming, and keep it in a handy place. Then, refer back to the list after social situations when energy is low and before the introvert hangover sets in.5
15. Don’t Beat Yourself Up for Being an Introvert!
Sometimes it feels like the world is built for extroverts, but introverts have many wonderful traits! Introverts are thoughtful, introspective, creative, and deliberate. Own your strengths and don’t be hard on yourself for needing to recharge. No one would expect their phone to work indefinitely without recharging, so why expect that from your own personal energy?
How to Support an Introvert in Your Life
Friends, partners, and family members can support the introverts in their lives by providing them with understanding and space. An introvert may seem withdrawn when they are in fact overstimulated, so ask the introvert what they need and try not to take it personally. Encourage them to spend time alone when they need to, they will be recharged and more ready to interact when they return.
When to Seek Professional Help
Even though introverts need less social interaction than extroverts, they can still have healthy social lives, careers and relationships. When introverted traits cause significant problems in relationships or at work, this can be a sign of something more serious like avoidant personality disorder or extreme social phobia. If an introvert is avoiding situations due to anxiety or fear, isolating, or lacking a support system, it is a good idea to seek professional help.6
Start by scheduling with your primary care physician to rule out any medical concerns, then seek out a licensed therapist. There are therapists available with many different specialties, clinical interests and geographic areas in an online therapist directory.
Introvert hangovers can be rough and may emotionally feel a lot like their alcohol-induced namesake. Fortunately, there are many ways for introverts to recharge and protect their energy reserves so they can recover from introvert hangovers and prevent them in the future.