Socializing is very draining, especially after the isolation the pandemic forced everyone into, AND especially if you are an introvert. I think now more than ever, my friends and classmates feel this way because of this shift — extroverts and introverts alike.
I spent most of my time these past two years around three people: my mom, dad, and brother. In the beginning, this was weird, as it was completely different from what I experienced in my day-to-day life. I went to school every day, with 30-35 kids in most of my classes. But then after a while I got used to the change and I liked it.
I got used to not seeing a lot of people and that was completely fine by me.
I was still in contact with my friends on a daily basis and “saw them” (FaceTimed) every once in a while and then (socially distanced) met up with them on occasion. It seemed like the perfect system — I got to choose the amount of interaction I wanted daily and I could prepare myself for what would happen when I did socialize.
Months passed, and things remained the same. Then I came to college (for the first time) in the spring, and classes and clubs were online but socializing seemed to be taking place in person. I was still used to how things were previously, so I simply stayed in my room and came out when I needed to (basically only for food). And I was still fine with this system — it was a comfortable system for me, and generally, when I find a comfortable routine, it’s hard for me to get out of it.
I got the personal space and time I needed, and I still got the socializing that I needed.
Fast forward to this semester (Fall 2021), everything and everyone is back on campus. There are in-person classes, in-person clubs… basically college life as before, but with masks.
And I feel more drained than ever.
Even before the pandemic, I liked my time and space; and if anything, the pandemic amplified this feeling — I need a lot of personal space and time, or else I feel like something is wrong. I like to destress and “de-charge” from social situations and environments that I’ve been in. And it was okay the first couple of days we were back because I didn’t have a lot of work, and I could simply focus on the self-care tasks that I had to do.
However, this no longer remains to be the case, everything is back in full swing, and I feel like I don’t have enough time to do what I need. And by need I mean, tasks I need for myself to feel better and more ‘rejuvenated’ throughout the day.
It’s challenging to try and finish (or at least try to tackle) my to-do list after everything else I have to do during the day. So many times, I simply forget or ignore the smaller things (like more sleep, quiet time, journaling, etc.) because of how drained I feel after classes.
Currently, I’m working on finding something I can do at the end of the day so that I still get the time I need to reflect and move forward.
I’ve found that journaling while listening to music that makes me happy — throwbacks or artists I used to listen to — has really helped me. I get to think about and reflect on my day, find what worked and what didn’t, and then think about what will happen in the future — manifestation, as some call it. And doing this while listening to music is also nice because I find that sometimes I don’t get to listen to music at all.
Different things work for different people. However, I think that an excellent way to get back into socializing while still prioritizing your needs is to reflect on what has already happened and think about what could happen.