Let’s face it…college is very stressful. Not only is the academic aspect of it a handful to deal with, but the social aspect of college can also be a lot on someone’s shoulders. College does in fact come with a lot of social demands, including groupwork in classes, meetings in clubs, and parties off campus. Now, before my introverted friends tense up and have the sudden desire to drop out of college, let me provide you with a mini guide on how to easily recharge your social battery (coming from someone who has grown up being an extrovert).
*Note that this is from my personal perspective and thought, so these tips may not work for everyone.*
Understanding Your Emotions
Before being able to recharge your social battery, you must understand yourself and the habits that you possess. Remember that you cannot improve on something without understanding it first. It’s like taking a class that is very difficult for you. You cannot see an improvement in your grade until you seek tutoring in order to understand class concepts.
Now, It’s important to take into account how you feel in the very moment your social battery feels drained. Is it a sense of worry? Are you overwhelmed? What about exhausted? Depending on how you are feeling is the very thing that prepares you for how to deal with what you are going through. For example, if you feel overwhelmed, then you already know how to navigate that emotion, which can be done by taking a walk or going to the gym to clear your head.
As well as emotions, habits also define how you tend to recharge your social battery. Typical habits that others tend to do is isolate themselve’s from others for a long time, lie in bed feeling fatigued for no reason, or have a sudden sense to participate in manic productivity. Depending on how you feel, your brain will implement habits (sometimes not such great ones) in order to feel a sense of fulfillment or recharge. While these are alright habits to implement from time to time, there are other healthier habits to include in your life when you feel a depletion in your social battery.
For the topic discussed in this article, take into account what you feel when your social battery has declined. Do you feel irritated? Exhausted? Stressed? Everyone feels and reacts differently when they need space in order to recharge.
Connecting Your Feeling to an Activity
Sometimes it can be hard to recharge something that feels completely depleted. At the same time, you might feel too exhausted to do anything other then lay in bed. What if I told you that there are many ways to recharge your social battery as well as getting a little pep back into your step?
Like I mentioned up above, depending on what emotion you are feeling should connect to the activity you are doing. For example, if I am feeling very stressed, the best activity to help cure stress for me would be to go biking, maybe paint on a canvas, or go even for a walk. If I am feeling exhausted, I practice some self-care, read a book, or binge watch iCarly on TV. There are an endless amount of activities that can get you active again and give you a sense of recharge. My one piece of advice for this is to do what makes you happy. You will only benefit from an activity if you are enjoying what you are doing.
Many of these activities I have mentioned above are hobbies that are proven to increase your mood. Watching TV is a prime example. Our brains tend to make paired associations. This means that when you are watching something specific, it can remind you of a happy time in your life and re-evoke happy emotions you felt at that point. Not only can these hobbies increase your mood, but they can help alleviate stress. One example of this is going on walks. Our body produces something called endorphins, which when released, stimulate relaxion and improve mood. When stressed, our body holds those endorphins and doesn’t release them. It’s only when we go a calming walk that they will be released and the stress with disappear.
Understanding Environmental Factors
There can be many reasons within the environment as to why one might feel a decline in their social battery. It’s all about understanding the environment around you and how it plays a role in your emotions. Environmental settings that are stressful and overwhelming can lead to a decline in your social battery versus a calm and collective setting, which can restore it instead.
For context, I am an individual who struggles with sensory overload. I did not realize this until I was in 9th grade shopping in the craft store. I was on a mission to grab some beads for a craft when I started getting stressed and frustrated. It was because so many people were in the aisles where I needed to go and people were almost running over me with their carts. For individuals like me, my social battery tends to decline when I experience an event like this.
In other types of scenarios, one can feel a decline in their social battery when in a toxic environment. We’ve all had that one friend that we’ve hung on to despite the toxicity radiating from them. While you don’t want to end your friendship with them, their toxic behavior may be contributing to a decline in your social battery. Another example that is extremely common is the typical introvert/extrovert friend duo. As an extrovert who tends to talk a lot, there are times where I do decrease my introverted friend’s social batteries because of my energetic presence. Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being energetic and extroverted, it’s just a matter of where every person’s social battery lies. It is important to note that sometimes you need to give your friends some room to breathe if they are feeling overwhelmed.
Understanding your environment is important, because not only do you understand why your social battery might be draining, but you can also make changes to resolve the issue as well. If that one toxic friend is giving you a rough time, end the friendship. If your friends are becoming overwhelming in your presence, excuse yourself from them and give yourself time to recharge. Sometimes, the solutions can be right under nose and we do not realize how much they can help us until we actually begin implementing .
Fast and Easy Short Term Solutions
If you are out and about and not at your place of residence, being able to recharge your social battery might be difficult. Luckily I have prepared some solutions in order to deal with this situation when not having hands on access to your hobbies.
An example I like to bring up is going to parties. During the weekends, after a long week of school, I enjoy partying with my friends. I know most of you guys reading this do the same thing. However, like I mentioned before, I get sensory overload, which drains my social battery a lot quicker. Sometimes, when I can’t paint or read in the moment, I find it important to get away from the stressor, take a deep breath and relax a bit. Therefore when I am at a party, I tend to step outside for some fresh air to get away from the crowd and loud music. I’ve been told several times that it is ‘uncool’ to step out of a party. Honestly, I would much rather step out to recharge than use up all my energy and have the urge to pass out. Everyone, and I mean everyone, needs a breather at some point during the day, and sometimes one is needed at the most inconvenient of times.
More examples of this can be concerts, formal gatherings, and ceremonies. These are events that tend to be the most crowded with so much going on. Usually when going to events like this, I tend to make sure I know where all exits are so that when I need a break, I can go outside and get one.
For those who enjoy traveling as much as I do and find themselves confined to a small space with many people such as a car, aircraft, or train, being able to go outside and catch a breather might be a bit more complicated. Assuming you’d have a bag on you, here are a list of items that will help you restore your social battery when not being able to go outside to take a break:
- Word Searches or Coloring Books: These help relax and stimulate the brain in order to get rid of stress
- Music Device with Headphones/AirPods: Help drown out the world around you and give you a moment in your own zone.
- Device to Watch Netflix: Watching your favorite show you increase your mood and bring back happy memories.
Writer’s Insight: Myths about Extroverts
Being an extrovert comes with a lot of myths attached to it. This section of my article is to bust some of those myths that some of you guys might be thinking about.
First off, extroverts can have a decline in their social battery as well. Some people believe that we have an endless amount of charge on us. Just like a phone or a computer, we have to recharge too. Now, not all extroverts are the same. While I classify myself as an extrovert (according to a personality test I took), there are times where I do find myself needing a break from people.
Another myth is that we draw our energy from talking to people. While this can be true, this isn’t always the case. For example, when I am having a stressful and rough day, the last thing I want to do is talk to people. I get worried that I’ll lash out at them or stress myself even further by trying to start a conversation. Remember, it’s okay to decline someone who wants to conversate. One of the best ways to do this is saying; “Hey, I’m very exhausted today and need to rest. Can we talk later?” Just don’t forget to be polite because you are not aware about what your friends might be going through as well.
One last myth I would like to address is that extroverts are always happy all the time. This is the biggest myth I have ever heard in my life. Extroverts have other emotions just like everyone else. In fact, I had four mental breakdowns last week over college and ate all my Girl Scout Cookies while crying. If that doesn’t scream happy, not sure what does. My point is that we experience other emotions such as sadness, anger, and stress, which are totally all normal to have.
There are many other myths about extroverts, but I’ll leave you with these for now. Just remember to not make any generalizations because anyone can have a bad day and need to recharge their social battery no matter if they’re introverts and extroverts.
My Message to You
I hope this article was helpful in giving you an understanding on how to recharge your social battery. One final message I would like to share with you guys is that you’ve got this. Being in college, working hard on academics and also having a social life can be difficult, but not impossible. Just remember, a decline in social battery is extremely common in college, especially during midterms and finals week and you are doing great! I love you all so much and I hope finals aren’t too stressful.