Summer is in full swing, and you know what that means…lots of vacations! Now, don’t get me wrong, vacations can be a refreshing break from the daily grind. But when you’re an introvert, they (like many other aspects of life) aren’t always a time to recharge.
And it was the definition of “stressful.”
Of course I love seeing family who I only visit once a year or so, but over the two and a half weeks I had very little “introvert time.” When I have to spend too much time with people, like all introverts, I need some time to recharge my batteries by taking some time for myself.
I feel like such a party-pooper sometimes, when everyone else is so excited about going on adventures with friends and family while I’m over here thinking “How long is too long to sit in the bathroom and recover from all the social interaction?” By the time I got back home I immediately collapsed on the couch and fell asleep, feeling completely exhausted and overwhelmed by the two weeks of constant “people time.”
So can introverts have refreshing family vacations? Is there a way to spend an extended amount of time in a car, plane, or a hotel room with other people without feeling drained? Or are we just doomed to put up with all the interaction, relishing those few moments we get to ourselves?
And in my experience, the toughest part is that I can’t hide my introversion for that long. Eight hours a day at work is about as long as my introvert battery lasts before I need another charge, so for me, two weeks feels like an eternity. And when I need my alone time, I get grumpy and am no fun to be around–not to mention I’m not really having a great time myself, either. I don’t want to ruin my family’s vacation with my grumpiness, but sometimes I just desperately need to get away from them. No offense, fam.
So this year I tried something new with my family. Over the past year I’ve been trying to be more vocal about my introvert needs, since I know it’s not something I should be ashamed of. I remind myself that if someone locked an extrovert in a room alone for two weeks it would be perfectly normal for them to crave social time, so the introvert-equivalent should be just as acceptable. The deal I made with my family was that I would spend the day with them, as long as I could sleep in in the morning and stay up a few hours after they went to bed to recharge.
It still wasn’t as much introvert time as I needed, probably because I’m used to having all evening and weekends to myself at home, but it was a start.
What about you guys, my fellow introverts? How do you handle vacations where you don’t get as much “introvert time” as you usually need?