Why do I feel so drained?

I just had a wonderful weekend at home in Cornwall, spending quality time with family and friends. Time I’m extremely grateful for. I took the Monday off work, to travel back and catch up on training, food shopping and food prep. I was up early this morning and straight into work seeing patients and meeting with colleagues.

This afternoon I felt drained with low energy and low motivation to train. I love training and am usually highly motivated to do it. As I’m writing this, I feel irritable and grumpy. I understand why I feel this way – it happens from time to time, I feel this way because I am an introvert and this weekend, I have pushed myself to be as social as possible.

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The most basic definition of an introvert is a person who gains energy from being alone and loses energy in stimulating environments, such as social events. This means that although I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else this weekend, combining the busy weekend celebrating my sister’s birthday with my demanding work with patients has been overwhelming and left my energy low.

My weekends are usually very quiet, with plenty of time to myself. I have designed them this way. For me, solitude is more than just a preference, it is crucial to my health and happiness. I need time alone to restore myself.

The time I spend alone, in the evenings and at weekends allows me to recover from my work week – which involves interacting with lots of people every day. There is a misconception that introverts don’t know how to behave socially, that they’re socially awkward but I believe I have very good social skills. Like many introverts, I do genuinely like talking to people and I can appear confident, chatty and assertive. What people don’t always realise is just how much energy this takes.  Many people, wrongly assume that if someone has good social skills, they must be an extrovert.

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I believe we live in a world the favours extroverts. It’s so important that if you are an introvert, you learn to say no. Many of us don’t know how to say “no” anymore without feeling overwhelmed with guilt. Declining invitations, setting personal boundaries, and leaving the party early can all be seen as rude but it’s not, it’s self-preservation. If you thrive off time spent with others and you know an introvert, don’t make them feel bad if they say no to you. Try to be understanding.

Right now I feel as though my energy tank is empty but luckily for me, my partner is also introverted. We are more than happy to be within each other’s company but say absolutely nothing, to sit quietly. I will wear headphones in the gym to give me even more ‘alone time’ and this weekend, the diary is empty and I intend to keep it this way. I  will prioritise time and activities that allow me to be with my own thoughts and keep quiet. So before I know it my energy and mood will be right back on track.

Sending you all loads of positive thoughts and energy!

Paula xo

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