What is Social Exhaustion or Fatigue?
It is a well-known fact that human beings require social interaction to mentally thrive. We need each other and our communities to feel normal. But there are three main categories of preferred social interaction by people. These include introverts, extroverts, and ambiverts. An extrovert feels at home when they are surrounded by people. They flourish in crowds and groups and experience a sense of being charged up.
Introverts on the other hand experience feelings of being drained if they are in a socially demanding scenario for too long. They can appreciate socializing in small doses but need time to themselves to feel okay again. Ambiverts are a middle ground between these two. So now to answer the question about social exhaustion.
It is usually felt by introverts more than extroverts. Dealing with people and having disagreements, even in day to day life, requires a lot of energy. One can feel low and tired of interacting with people. Constant conversation leads to them feeling drained. When an individual has been put in a circumstance where they have to do things out of their comfort zone, they will feel overwhelmed. Another name given to social fatigue is introvert burnout or introvert hangover. Although not professionally diagnosed, it is a very real and valid experience.
Symptoms of Social Exhaustion
Your reactions are disproportionate
Small things will set you off. You start to become cranky and irritable because you just desire to be alone. You will have an overly angry response to a small mistake or error.
Mental exhaustion affects your body’s wellbeing too. You may get headaches, feel weak or sleepy. Some people complain about their eyes burning while others feel muscle pains or face digestive issues.
You are done with small talk
You feel irritated when people engage in meaningless chitchat with you to fill the silence. You don’t want to feel obligated to make small talk with every other person you see.
You feel impatient
Tolerating other people and their opinions that differ from yours becomes more challenging. You often begin to say things you don’t mean.
You become absent-minded
A severe case of “zoning out” is a sign of social fatigue. You lose your ability to listen and pay attention. Because you just want to get away and be alone.
How to Heal from a Social Exhaustion
Try not to drive yourself to the point of an absolute breakdown. Set some time in the day to refuel your social energy. Here are some ways to deal with that on a mental and physical level.
1. Take a break from Social Media
As much as in the flesh social engagements can tire us, online socializing does too. Often, we spend a lot of time on our phones. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter are all social media platforms that require you to interact with people.
It may be a wise decision to either deactivate your accounts or just delete the app from your phone for a few days. A little bit of digital solitude combined with physical solitude can give you that refreshing break that you are so desperately craving right now. Allow yourself to relax and spend some time with yourself.
This is a practice that has been proven to help with many forms of exhaustion and anxiety. Meditation has a tremendous amount of benefits to your body and mind.
Numerous videos and applications can guide the ideal and most effective way to perform this activity. Actively listening to relaxing sounds such as water flowing, birds chirping, or a peaceful piano melody can help you unwind and release that tension that has built up with all the social pressure.
Whether you do this early in the morning or right before bed, it is a great way to help you physically and mentally loosen up and prepare for the day or night ahead of you.
3. Engage in a hobby
While you take time out for yourself, it can be fun to return to some of your hobbies that you may have not gotten time for with your busy lifestyle. Pick up a book from your favorite genre and catch up on some light reading.
If you were learning a new musical instrument, practice that. Try to solve a puzzle on your own. Maybe try drawing or making a cool sketch while listening to a good vibes playlist on Spotify! Honestly, anything that you find pleasure in doing. It’s all about learning to enjoy your own company.
4. Journal your emotions
Another great way to cope with exhaustion is to write it out. Put on some comfy pajamas and get into bed. Take out your journal or just a simple notebook and write out how you are feeling. All the negative emotions and irritability, just let it all out.
Many studies have shown that journaling or simply writing down how you feel can prove to be very beneficial in processing your exhaustion. Social fatigue is a result of being overwhelmed and tired of obligations to your surrounding people. Therefore, expelling this awful energy that has built up in your body will help you recover and get back on track with your life.
5. Go to your happy place
One of the most important factors in avoiding an introvert burnout is removing yourself from these highly demanding environments. They may be your workplace or a party etc. There is no harm in choosing to sometimes not go out and party with your friends. Or once and awhile taking an extra day off work to unwind and recharge. Your happy place may be all bundled up in your bed. It may be going to a nearby park where you are surrounded by nature. Just pick a place that makes you feel most at ease. Your surroundings have a big impact on your mental state.
6. Do some self-care activities
Self-care can include a lot of different activities. So, whatever that means to you, do it! On a personal level, I believe facemasks are a great way to show affection to your body. They hydrate and moisturize your skin, leaving you with an energized and clean feel.
You can try making one yourself with some easily available ingredients or just try a store-bought one.
Something that can soothe your fatigue, even more, is lighting some scented candles. These provide a calming vibe to two of your senses. The scent of the candle is fantastic and can transport you into a bakery or near an ocean or a campfire, depending on the scent. And the dim light creates a soothing atmosphere as well.
7. Make yourself a meal
For you to physically heal, nutrition is essential. Try a new recipe and get cooking. The act of cooking your meal can be a rewarding experience in itself.
In addition to this, giving your body the nutrients it needs will aid in relieving the stress and giving you the energy to keep on grinding. It is also a good activity to do on your own. Getting that much needed alone time will rejuvenate you.
8. Try a yoga routine
People use yoga to help recover from various health issues. It is scientifically proven that this form of exercise is one of the most beneficial and effective. It is a calm and light category of exercise, so it also is not too tough to approach.
When the intimidation is out of the way, you can stretch your muscles and joints, improve your flexibility, and treat your body right!
Exercise even in light forms releases dopamine and happy hormones in your body making you feel relaxed and joyful.
9. Clean out your room
Decluttering your physical space is vital to feeling refreshed once again. Organizing your dresser, folding your clean laundry, taking out the trash, wiping down your mirror, etc. All these activities are to some extent therapeutic. You will feel so much better once your surroundings are up to par. When your floor is filled with stinky clothes, dirty dishes are lying around and there is a mess of papers on your desk, you will not feel relaxed. There is something about a messy room or apartment that makes you feel stale and dirty. So, rid yourself of the clutter and unwind.
As an introvert, you have your own needs. Remember to always take time out for yourself and not overexert your body or your mind. You need to get recharged to be socially present and show up for your responsibilities. Take care of your mental health and keep checking in with yourself. It is not rude or selfish to prioritize your well-being.