What Is An "Introvert Hangover?" The Importance Of Alone Time Can't Be Underestimated

If you're an introvert, I'm willing to bet you're more than familiar with the phenomenon that is an "introvert hangover." But if you're not an introvert, you might be wondering: What is an introvert hangover, and how can I tell if someone is experiencing one? For that matter, you might be wondering what, exactly, the term means even if you are an introvert; it's not one that's commonly encountered. But even if you don't know the phrase, you might know the feeling — and Shawna Courter's recent post at Introvert Dear on the subject might help you put the words to that feeling.

According to Beverly D. Flaxington at at Psychology Today, an introvert is someone who is reflective, thoughtful, and in touch with their own emotions. Although introverts are often assumed to prefer being alone to people, that's not always the case; rather, it's that introverts need alone time to recover from social interactions, even if they enjoyed them. Sometimes these social interactions can be work related, like a busy day full of meetings; other times, they can be family get-togethers; they might even be a date day or night with your partner. For an introvert, even the best interactions can leave them needing alone time, and that is OK! But what does it entail?

As Courter explains at Introvert Dear, needing time to decompress after having too much social interaction can cause an "introvert hangover." Of course, this experience will vary from person to person, but in essence, introvert hangovers come from the same place: Desperately needing some alone time and not getting it. Even if you're not an introvert yourself, needing some alone time to breathe and not getting it is a pretty stressful, overwhelming mental space to be in.

Here's what you need to know about introverts hangover

Signs You're Experience An Introvert Hangover

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As Sophia Dembling at Psychology Today explains, when people don't respect our boundaries as introverts and give us the space and alone time that we need, we can start to shut down. AFor Courter, experiencing an introvert hangover starts off with physical reactions to the over-stimulation she experiences: "Your ears might ring, your eyes start to blur, and you feel like you’re going to hyperventilate. Maybe your palms sweat," she writes. Even if you're having a good time, you might feel that your thoughts are getting ahead of you and you simply can't hear yourself think among all the socialization. Those are sure signs you need a little break to decompress.

Ways You Can Find Relief

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For Courter, finding relief means literally removing herself from the situation and going into a separate room where she can have quiet. Dembling, meanwhile, suggests having some "boundary phrases" ready to go in case of these situations — for example, you might want to get comfortable saying things like,"I've had all the excitement I can handle for one night" while you make your exit. This gives introverts a polite but direct way to remove themselves from the situation.

What To Say When An Introvert Is Shutting Down

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As Courter notes, there are few things worse for an introvert than when they begin to shut down and people pressure them to become more outgoing or engaged. For instance, asking questions like "Are you upset?" or "What is the matter, everything was fine a few minutes ago?" can make an introvert feel self-conscious about their feelings. Instead, suggesting that an introvert take some time for themselves, or offering them a task or errand that provides some alone time, may be good ways to give them the break they need without putting them on the spot.

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