How to Recover When Socializing Has Totally Drained Your Battery

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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This article is part of SELF’s second annual Rest Week, an editorial package dedicated to doing less. If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that taking care of yourself, physically and emotionally, is impossible without genuine downtime. With that in mind, we’ll be publishing articles up until the new year to help you make a habit of taking breaks, chilling out, and slowing down. (And we’re taking our own advice: The SELF staff will be OOO during this time!) We hope to inspire you to take it easy and get some rest, whatever that looks like for you.

Some people live for a calendar filled with dinner dates, group hangs, and Sunday brunches. But if you’re not exactly a social butterfly who can effortlessly float through back-to-back plans, the constant need to start (and maintain) conversations can be downright exhausting. Take me, for example: Sure, I love a good friends’ night out or happy hour from time to time, but I can only answer How’s work going? or (fake) laugh at someone’s partner’s jokes for so long before I turn into a cranky monster—I need my peace and quiet.

You don’t have to be socially anxious or shy to feel wiped out after a house party, networking event, or even just two coffee get-togethers in a row. Social exhaustion (also known as an introvert hangover) is completely natural, and it’s basically your body’s way of telling you to hit pause and get some R&R, Laurie Helgoe, PhD, associate clinical professor of psychology at Augsburg University and author of Introvert Power: Why Your Inner Life Is Your Hidden Strength, tells SELF. “When you interact with other people, you’re processing a lot of information, and if there’s too much at once, it’s no wonder you’ll be overwhelmed or find it hard to relax”—or feel depleted after the fact, Dr. Helgoe says.

The good news is that, in many cases, the cure is simple: Get some rest and recharge your battery, she recommends. Not all self-care is created equal, however, so to help you make the most of your downtime, we asked experts for some of the best ways to refill your cup when other people (even your favorites!) have sucked it dry.

Escape into a fictional world to give your brain a break.

If your idea of true relaxation involves bed rotting until 3 p.m. as you scroll TikTok or shop for a new winter wardrobe, by all means—go for it. But along with getting physical rest, a mental break can also help restore your energy, Dr. Helgoe says. That’s why she suggests inviting your tired little brain to escape from reality—via intergalactic aliens, perhaps, or a spicy forbidden love story.


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