Just a couple weeks ago I woke up on Monday morning with what felt like a hangover. The only thing is, I hadn’t so much as had a beer in days. Still, I was groggy and sluggish. I took the dog for a walk and hardly wanted to make the block. Normally on Monday, I’m eager to get to work. I try to get two days worth of work done on Monday to give myself some grace for the rest of the week but this Monday was obviously going to be a dud.
What in the world was wrong? I wasn’t sick, just out of it.
Then it hit me. I’d gone from meeting to church to coffee to lunch to dinner all weekend long. I had a people hangover.
As an introvert, I really have to watch how much time I spend making small talk. I know it sounds strange to those of you who are extroverts, but time with people drains me and I hardly know it’s happening.
Sadly, though, I really like spending time with people. It’s not that I don’t like people, it’s that social time drains rather than recharges me.
So I decided to manage my people time the same way I’d manage exercise or eating or drinking. I knew everything had to be kept in moderation.
Mostly, for me, though, it’s less about managing my social calendar and more about managing my rest time. In my mind, if not on an actual physical calendar, I make sure I get plenty of alone time each week. I make sure I have till 5 every day completely free to write. I don’t have a single meeting or coffee or lunch. That move alone frees me up to spend quality time with people in the evenings.
Then, on weekends, I make sure I get several hours alone, regardless of my plans. Mostly this takes place in the morning. I won’t get together with anybody till after noon. Then, between events, I take my dog to the river and I try to do that by myself. Those couple hours work great to recharge me between a lunch meeting to an evening with friends.
If possible, I try to take Sunday evening off. Say, after 7pm. I read, watch television or clean the house, but I do it in a way I don’t have to make chit chat.
Of course if you have a significant other “alone” may often mean with them. But the idea is you don’t have to be “on” all the time. Introverts don’t want to have to be “on”.
So, the trick is to make sure you’re getting your alone time, then fill in the social stuff once the alone time is nailed down.
No more people hangover!