Some people are surprised to learn that I am an introvert. I think this comes from a misunderstanding of what being an introvert actually means. I don’t have any great fear of public speaking. I am generally at ease in groups of people and find carrying on conversations pretty easy. But these things EXHAUST me. This is how I found myself with a holiday hangover this week. Too much time spent extroverting and not enough time recovering. Let me explain…
My week of extroverting began with a midweek holiday concert with a friend. It was a great show (check out Ingrid Michaelson’s holiday album if you want to know what we were listening to) and I had been really looking forward to it. I was tired the next day but mostly from being out past my usual bedtime.
Then over the weekend, a good friend was holding a celebratory brunch at her house. I went there almost directly from teaching my Saturday morning class. The two extroverting activities back to back meant I went home and recharged with Netflix. But I was doing ok. Not overwhelmed yet.
Then I hosted a cookie decorating gathering at my home. I had prepped the sugar cookies the night before and ordered quiches from a local pie shop to minimize my own cooking requirements. It was fantastic. I caught up with some people I love and had a very fun afternoon with them. Then I had to run off to teach my Sunday evening class. And by Monday it hit me…
TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS! This is something the priest from my church growing up would talk about at the holidays. It is that point when kids start arguing and crying. When family members get on one another’s last nerves. It was the point my extroverting had brought me to and it isn’t even Christmas yet!
This Monday, I was a complete and total crabby patty. Things that usually wouldn’t bother me were extreme irritations. And I still had one more gathering to attend. That was the last straw for my introverted self. I came home from said gathering and sobbed. I was tired and frustrated. I felt unappreciated. I had pushed myself too far all while knowing that it wouldn’t end well. It felt very much like a hangover. I had indulged too much, my body aching and wanting rest, but the memories were great! Right?
Not entirely. Now those people who had the unfortunate experience of talking to me on a bad day have that burned into their memories. And I can’t take back the way that I made those folks feel. This is why paying attention and listening to our bodies is so important. It has a direct relationship with our day to day actions.
In yoga, we learn to pay attention to our energy levels. We try to find practices that complement what our bodies need. This has given me new insight into how my introversion works and how I can manage it (usually). I know that being around people for too long a stretch without “me time” un-grounds me. I need time to process and regroup. I need to turn off for a bit.
The best way I know to get back to myself is spending time alone. I love being alone. I was always good at independent play and now I enjoy privately practicing as my adult playtime. I spend a great amount of time just daydreaming when I am alone. I am not trying to think about anything in particular but allowing my mind to wander freely. It is actually how I come to write these blog posts! I always have a first draft in my head. I know that I need these things before I spend time with family this Christmas.
So this holiday season, love the introverts in your life but give them some space. Don’t assume they are upset if they go for some alone time. Don’t worry if they would rather read than play a game. They will come around when they have recharged their extroverting batteries.