I’m sure many of you have experienced a social hangover. It is one of the banes of Empath life.
So, what exactly is a social hangover and how does it affect us?
Basically, it’s similar to a boozy hangover, except it’s caused from consuming too much people energy and it happens whether you drink alcohol or not.
The physical symptoms are varied from one Empath to the next, but here are just a few: fatigue, headaches and generally feeling blah. For more extreme cases, it may require a day in bed.
Back in the days when I used to drink alcohol, I assumed feeling rough the day after was all down to guzzling too many Budweiser. So, when I ventured out alcohol free, I was surprised to discover I still got the ‘hangover’.
I soon clicked on to the fact that it was the aftereffects of being peopled (alcohol had just heightened the impact).
No matter how in balance or grounded we are, as Empaths, we all have time limits when in social situations. For some, it is two hours, for others it will be four or five. And of course, it depends on the type of people we are surrounded by. Angry, bitter, inauthentic or socially uncomfortable people will impact us three times faster than most, as will anyone who is in emotional crisis.
When I’m with some friends, I can spend several hours with them and feel fantastic after. Other friends, two hours is more than enough. I tend to react badly if I spend time alone with anyone who carries a lot of anger or bitterness, or anyone who is particularly inauthentic. However, I can spend longer around them if I’m in the company of others.
Although large groups of people wipe many Empaths out, being in small groups (three or four people) can help dilute the overpowering emotional energy of certain individuals.
Some may even find being in a one-to-one social situation too overbearing, as all the emotional energy of the other is taken on ‘unfiltered’ (especially when the other is in turmoil).
It should also be noted that introvert Empaths tend to suffer far worse social hangovers than the extrovert. Introverts have more of an aversion to socializing, whereas extroverts thrive on public gatherings, so the former tend to have a smaller window of social time.
I’m more introvert and my husband is extrovert. Well, he’s probably more ambivert. He needs a regular dose of social interaction but also likes down time away from people. He also doesn’t do well in situations where there is a lot of negativity. We do have to compromise in regard to socializing. If we go somewhere that I know from past experience, I have a short time limit, he will leave earlier than he would have liked. But if I can see he’s enjoying himself, I stay longer than I should (knowing I will have to deal with a social hangover the following day).
So, the big question is, is there anything we can do to prevent or lessen social hangovers?
Yes. The first being, know your time limits. Get to know how long you can spend with certain people or in certain social events and leave before that time is up.
The second is use the usual grounding techniques before venturing out. This post may help with that: (an Empaths guide).
Another good trick is to drink lots of water before and during socializing time (see more here). Water helps keep us balanced, emotionally and physically, and lessens the effect of social hangovers.
When we are overly stressed, tired, rundown or generally out of whack, the social aftershock we experience is much worse; so, it really helps to stay in balance. (I used to have a very short window of time when I was out of balance. Socializing or visiting public places used to wipe me out very quickly.)
Finally, if you come home after time spent with others and are wired or overwhelmed, try alternate nostril breathing before bed. The breathing technique activates the parasympathetic nervous system and helps restore balance. It can be done anytime one is fatigued or out of sorts.
Many people find alternate nostril breathing a great way to aid sleep or to calm the nerves before a stressful event, but it can also be a great way to reset when suffering a social hangover.
Alternate Nostril Breathing:
Technique: Sit or stand in a comfortable position. Using your right hand, place your thumb on your right nostril and close it, inhale through your left nostril, then cover your left nostril with your ring finger, lift the right thumb and exhale through the nostril, this is followed by an inhale through the right nostril, then close the right with the thumb and exhale through the left. This was one round. Start by practicing for one minute and build up gradually. Remember, it is on the exhale that you swap the nostrils you breathe through.
Please note: when you first start controlled breathing techniques it is common to feel dizzy. If this happens stop, take a break and build up gradually.
Ok, that’s it for me today. Oh, but one last thing before I go. Amazon have informed me that I can rerun the Kindle Countdown on The Eating Plan for Empaths and HSPs, for Amazon.com. So, I will get on the case this weekend and be back with the link.
Hope all is well in your corner of the world.