Self-Care for the Socially Exhausted

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Lately, I’ve been craving a pillow fort. I daydream about a cozy nest of blanket-draped comfort on my way home from work, and I idly look up couches with removable cushions in between grading and planning. Even with my greatly increased self-awareness, it took me a few weeks to realize I was sending out signals to myself: social batteries low, recharge needed.

I’m not going to call myself an introvert because I find the term has become overly popular lately, with online quizzes that label anyone who doesn’t want to put pants on sometimes or likes to relax quietly after a night out as introverted. If I had to put a name to it, I might call myself “socially exhaustible.” I can function in social situations, even enjoy myself, but getting to know new people or spending time in crowds or groups drains me pretty quickly. I love the people I love and draw strength and joy from them, and I do genuinely like learning more about new friends, but I need some regular and intentional me-time if I want to continue functioning.

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