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9 Ways to recover from burnout

beach-woman-1149088_1920This is my third and final post on the topic of social events. In a perfect world, I’d have plenty of time to prepare for an event, I’d pace myself, and I’d leave with energy to spare. Unfortunately, real life rarely goes according to plan. I wanted to share a few things I do after a social event to recharge.

1. Put things away.
As soon as I get home, I put away everything I’ve brought with me. I hang up my coat, put my shoes in the closet, and tuck away my bag. This is sometimes hard when all I feel like doing is falling into my bed. But keeping my room clean makes me feel better.

2. Don’t overanalyze.
Don’t beat yourself up over what you may have said or done. There will be time for self-reflection later. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Focus on giving yourself time to recharge.

3. Recharge.
Take the quiet time you need. Make sure you’re alone. Do things that make you feel happy and refreshed. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. You’re worth taking care of.

4. Laugh.
Laughter is great for stress relief and I always feel so much better after watching a funny movie or comedy videos on Youtube.

5. Mentally prepare for future interaction.
You’ll have to eventually go to work, interact with family, grocery shop, etc. Mentally prepare yourself to interact with people. Or take measures to minimize your energy drain. A pair of headphones helps shut out most of the chatter at the grocery store. And self-checkouts are a lifesaver.

6. Connect with loved ones.
As both introverts and human beings, we crave meaningful connections. Take the alone time you need. But take time afterward to connect with those you care about.

7. Create an oasis in your home.
Make a space in your home that can be used for quiet. Put things in it that you love. My favourite place is a comfy armchair in my room. It’s draped with cozy throws and pillows. I love curling up in it while reading a good book. If that’s not possible, a quiet spot outside can work beautifully too.

8. Take lots of small breaks.
It’s usually not feasible to disappear for days or weeks on end. Try to work quiet time into your daily schedule. It will help keep you refreshed throughout the week. Some things I enjoy doing include light reading before bed, going for a walk, working out, dancing, cooking while listening to my favourite podcast, planning out my week, and taking care of my herb garden.

9. Don’t feel guilty.
Being introverted is a gift and is just as wonderful as being extroverted. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Also, there’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t defective or somehow less of a person because of the way you function. You are an incredible individual with so much potential.

Do you have any other tips or tricks?

5 signs of burnout

tokyo-2805508_1920In my last post, I talked about ways you can prepare for social events. I wanted to continue with this theme. Sometimes it can be hard to tell when you’re starting to get burned out (other times it’s pretty obvious). I wanted to share a few things to look for.

1. Easily irritated.
Normally minor annoyances don’t bother me. I usually ignore them. But when I’m getting burned out, my tolerance level is pretty low and I feel like snapping at people.

2. Brain fog.
It feels like there’s a haze over my thoughts. I can’t think clearly and it takes me a long time to process anything. I usually speak slower than normal and can’t always find the words I’m looking for. My sentences will often trail off before I finish them because I’ve forgotten what I want to say. Even small decisions like “what do you want to eat” become difficult. I usually end up zoning out of conversations.

3. Feeling ill.
When I get burned out, I get headaches, sore muscles, fatigue, and nausea. The more burned out I am, the worse it is. But even minor burnout makes me feel unwell.

4. Exhaustion.
As burnout sets in, I start feeling more tired than normal, but it quickly progresses to total body sluggishness and fatigue. Just staying on my feet becomes a difficult task. All I can focus on is moving forward. Conversation becomes impossible.

5. Need to be alone.
When I’m burned out I just want to be alone. I’ll sometimes get panicky or feel trapped if I’m surrounded by people and there’s no immediate escape.

If you’re feeling burned out, and you can’t leave, there are still a few things you can do to help. Take breaks as needed. Take a short walk outside, move to a less crowded area, spend some time in a washroom stall, or plug your headphones in and drown out the surrounding noise. Also, make sure you’re taking care of yourself physically too. Get plenty of sleep beforehand, stay hydrated, and eat when you’re hungry. It may not solve the problem, but it can keep it from getting worse.

Do you have any other tips?

5 tips – prep for social events

kyoto-210092_1920.jpgI recently wrote about my busy weekend and my struggles before and during. I’ve been thinking about it a lot. One of my biggest problems was that I didn’t prepare for the weekend like an introvert. I was so focused on finishing all the tasks that I neglected to take care of myself. I assumed I’d have enough energy. Even though I hadn’t taken steps to recharge along the way. I wanted to share a few tips I’ll be using to avoid this problem in the future.

1. Schedule quiet time.
Plan for quiet time both before and after the event. Choose activities that are relaxing and rejuvenating. Write it in the calendar. Then follow through. If you can’t take a large chunk of time, take advantage of small moments of quiet. Some time is always better than none.

2. Embrace the unexpected.
As an introvert, I’m a planner. There’s nothing more satisfying than when a plan works out perfectly. But life is unpredictable and messy. I need to be okay with this. Having a flexible mindset doesn’t make the problems go away. But accepting that things can go wrong helps me to react more positively to changes and difficulties.

3. Mentally prepare.
I know that by going to a social event, I’ll be interacting with people. It will be draining. I try to remind myself that this is a perfectly normal feeling. I’m not weird or strange. I may not experience social events like an extrovert but I can certainly enjoy it my own way.

4. Dress for success.
When I wear something that makes me feel confident, that feeling extends to my interactions with others. I also try to wear something that’s fairly comfortable. When I start getting burned out, my physical sensations are heightened and wearing chafing or tight clothing makes me feel worse.

5. Plan your exit (in advance).
Before you even arrive at the event, set up a rough timeline. Decide what time you’re going to leave and give yourself permission to do so. If the time arrives and you want to stay longer, that’s great. But keep checking in with yourself. Try to leave before burnout sets in. It’s a lot easier to recharge a partially-filled battery than an empty one. Don’t feel guilty for leaving early. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do.

Do you have any other tips?

5 travel challenges for an introvert

backlit-1870004_1920I adore traveling solo. I love immersing myself in a completely different culture. It’s such an educational, enjoyable, and addicting experience. But as I learned during my overseas trip last year, there are a lot of challenges too.

1. Lots of people
When traveling to any well-known attraction there will likely be other people who have the same idea. To avoid this, I would go early in the morning (I’d be out the door by 7 AM). This helped to circumvent the massive crowds. It also made for some pretty beautiful photos, sans tourists in the background. Fushimi Inari and the bamboo grove in Arashiyama (both in Kyoto) are enjoyed best in the early hours.

2. Language barrier
Asking for directions becomes more challenging and intimidating when you don’t speak the language. Learning a few phrases and common questions can help you connect with the locals. I memorized the phrase “_______ wa doko desu ka” which means “where is _______?”. Filling in the blank for whatever place/location you’re looking for. It helped a lot and people were pretty happy I was attempting to speak Japanese. Mobile apps for translation and key phrases are also helpful.

3. Unfamiliar streets
Unless it’s a repeat trip, the streets and alleyways will all look unfamiliar. While in Japan I often couldn’t read the street names as they are written in kanji. But thanks to google maps, I was able to navigate to all my destinations even if I couldn’t read the signs. Having access to either a wifi router or SIM card was a huge lifesaver and decreased my stress.

4. So much overwhelm
It’s hard to adapt to an environment full of different languages, personalities, street signs, and customs. It’s easy to shift from feeling okay to burned out in a matter of minutes. This means you have to take extra care of yourself. I go to bed early whenever possible. I schedule in at least two full meals so I’m not running on empty. I always bring water with me to stay hydrated. At the end of the day I like to reflect and write down the day’s events. It helps me unwind and process things.

5. Not enough time
As an introvert I have limited energy. I can’t do it all. It can be disappointing when you have to miss out on things because you’re burned out. But you can create “quiet day” itineraries for when you need them. Or work quiet time into your daily schedule for a quick recharge. Do things at your own pace and don’t blame yourself for not being able to see everything. Create a travel experience that is meaningful to you.

Where would you like to travel?

5 roommate tips

people-2561065_1920I wrote an earlier post here on roommate challenges. They’re definitely still there but I had a good conversation with my roommate last night and I’m hopeful. I can’t remember how it began. But we ended up talking about our differences in energy and how much social time we need. I’m hoping I was able to articulate how essential quiet time is for me. It’s also helped me better understand how she functions. It was comfortable and hopefully leads to some small positive changes. I wanted to share a few things that have helped me and given me a more balanced perspective on things.

1. Communication is key.
This is vital in any relationship but especially if you live with the person. I need to tell her when I’m feeling burned out and that I’ll be recharging for a couple of hours. That way she won’t feel like I’m purposely avoiding her. Having a self-deprecating, “it’s me, not you” kind of attitude can help too.

2. Door closed = quiet time.
If I want to be alone, I shut my door. That’s the signal that I’m recharging or busy. I also hang a sign on my door with a cute illustration and the words “recharging – do not disturb”. I’m also working to create a peaceful oasis in my room for maximum relaxation.

3. Reset your perspective.
As an introvert, dealing with an extrovert’s chattiness can be a challenge. But it’s just as challenging for an extrovert to deal with an introvert’s aloofness and not take it personally. Extroverts need to socialize as much as we need them to leave us alone. When you have a roommate, the shared spaces are no longer places to recharge. They become the social hub. So if I’m in the living room, it’s because I’m mentally prepared to talk.

4. Find other escapes.
Shutting the door isn’t the only way to get alone time. I like to go for long walks after supper for some much needed quiet time and reflection. Even a solo gym or coffee date can help me decompress as well.

5. Compromise.
I need a lot of quiet time and I will take what I need. But I value my friendship with her and don’t want her to feel that she’s living with a stranger. So every night I’ll spend some time with her. We’ll either eat dinner together or chat for a bit before bed. We get to connect and I still get my quiet time.

Any other ideas?