Have you ever felt like your day was just dragging on and had nothing to look forward to? Maybe you’re anxious when socializing with others or devastated following a family dispute. If so, you probably have some introvert burnout going on. To love your life again, this article will explain the causes of burnout and share some steps you can take.
Why Do Introverts Burnout?
Introverts can easily be overwhelmed by too much stimulation, leading to burnout. They may also experience social anxiety or social exhaustion; these issues are often tied to their introversion.
Introverts need time alone to recharge and regenerate, but this time away from social interaction can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. Some introverts struggle with feeling like they don’t fit in because they’re different from others. There are two primary reasons why introverts might burn out, including:
Too much stimulation.
Introverts can be easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation. This is especially true when it comes to socializing, which can result in burnout if you’re not careful.
Being around people can be stressful for some introverts due to social anxiety or exhaustion. These issues are often tied to their introversion, making them more inclined to avoid social situations unless they feel comfortable around people.
What Are the Signs of Burnout in an Introvert?
Burnout is a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that can occur when you feel like you’re giving 100 percent but not getting anything back.
Burnout is also linked to chronic stress, which means you’ve felt stressed for a long time. This stress can come from being overworked at work or feeling alone in your relationships.
It’s normal to feel exhausted and stressed sometimes, but if those feelings last for more than a few days, it’s important to pay attention to them.
Here are seven signs of burnout that are common among introverts:
- You have low energy levels and feel tired all the time.
- You have trouble concentrating on your work or just sitting through a normal day.
- You’re easily distracted by things around you (like a ringing phone or someone talking at a nearby table).
- You feel like your job is sucking the life out of you.
- You no longer enjoy doing things that used to bring you pleasure — like going out with friends or watching movies — because it’s just too much effort for insufficient return on investment.
- You’re always irritable and snapping at people who don’t deserve it (like family members).
- You’ve lost interest in things that used to bring you joy — like reading books or playing sports — because everything feels like too much effort for insufficient return on investment.
Are Introverts More Susceptible to Burnout?
Being introverted or extroverted is a personality trait. But does that mean introverts are more likely to get burned out?
The answer isn’t so simple. It depends on whether you’re talking about introversion or extroversion as a personality trait or introversion and extroversion as psychological states.
Introversion and Extroversion as Personality Traits
Introversion and extroversion are two personality traits that have been studied for decades. The trait of introversion-extroversion is a continuum, with most people falling between the extremes.
Introverts tend to be quiet, reserved, and reflective. They prefer to be alone or with a small group of close friends rather than with a large group of people they don’t know well. They tend to work best on their own without distractions, but they also like to reflect on their experiences before they act or speak. Introverts may seem quiet or shy because they do not feel comfortable in the spotlight.
Extroverts tend to be talkative and outgoing; they enjoy being around other people and are energized by social interaction. They are often described as “extroverts,” “people persons,” or “charismatic.” Extraverts may appear more confident in social situations because they are more comfortable talking about themselves than introverts are.
Introversion and Extroversion as the Psychological States
The concepts of introversion and extroversion are widely used in psychology, but the terms are not interchangeable.
Introversion is a psychological state or trait characterized by an active interest in one’s mental life. An introvert is a person who is said to be internally oriented or who has a preference for solitary activities.
In contrast, extroversion is a personality trait involving the tendency to be easily stimulated by external events or other people. Extroverts tend to enjoy time spent with others, while introverts prefer solitude—although neither preference should be considered better than the other.
Introverts prefer quiet environments, while extroverts prefer more stimulating environments. However, introversion and extraversion are not limited to these preferences; they also impact other areas of life, such as what kind of environment each prefers working in, how each interacts with others, and so on.
That said, it’s no secret that introverts have a hard time in the workplace. They’re less likely than their extroverted counterparts to get ahead, they face more pressure at work, and they generally feel more exhausted when they leave home. But do they also experience burnout more frequently? According to several research studies, it depends on how you define the term — but yes, introverts can be more susceptible to burnout than extroverts.
A study looked at how different personality types respond to stressors and found that introverts were most likely to experience distress when faced with high job demands, low levels of social support from coworkers or managers, and telecommunication. The study also found that extrovert personalities’ burnout was associated with telecommunication.
How Can an Introvert Get Rid of Burnout?
As an introvert, finding ways to recharge your energy is hard. You might get burnt out easily, making you feel like you’re constantly struggling with your energy levels.
- Take regular breaks.
If you feel overwhelmed or exhausted, take a break and do something else for a while. Go for a walk outside or spend some time alone doing something you enjoy (reading, painting, gardening, etc.)
- Get enough sleep.
Sleep deprivation makes it harder to concentrate, remember details and solve problems. It also makes you moody and irritable — not exactly the best state of mind for day-to-day living!
- Eat healthy foods.
Eating well gives you more energy and helps you stay focused on your tasks throughout the day. Be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet — these foods are packed with vitamins that can boost your immune system and keep you healthy during cold and flu season (all year long!).
- Set boundaries with your coworkers and boss.
Introverts need their space to recharge after interacting with others all day long — so if your job requires constant interaction throughout the day (such as a customer service position), set aside specific times for socializing (like lunch breaks) and strictly adhere to them so that you don’t feel overwhelmed by having to interact with people all the time during work hours.
- Practice mindfulness.
Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment without judgment or criticism. It’s easy for introverts to slip into negative thought patterns or spiral down into depression when stressed out over work or dealing with other people’s drama all day long. Mindfulness can help you stay grounded and focused during stressful times, so you don’t let stress get out of control.
- Exercise regularly.
Exercise releases endorphins into the body that make us feel happier and less stressed out overall — especially if we do things like yoga or tai chi that help us focus on what’s happening inside our bodies instead of outside in the world around us. Even just going for a walk outside can help clear your mind and give you a fresh perspective on whatever’s bothering you right now in your life.
We all need occasional breaks from social activity and stimulation. But if you withdraw from everyone and everything for no apparent reason, try to do a gut check. Are you being overly hard on yourself? Are you able to recharge by kicking back alone for a bit, or are you dreading relaxation time?
Red flags might be raised if you feel fatigued or overwhelmed by demands and expectations. If so, know that it’s okay to put your own needs first sometimes. Step back and seek support from others, whether attending therapy or talking with friends and family. The important thing is to make sure you don’t dig yourself further into an introverted hole.
Just remember that you’re not alone in this. You’ll be able to find out if you have a place where it is safe to talk with people who understand what’s happening.
- Mheidly, N., Fares, M. Y., & Fares, J. (2020). Coping with stress and burnout associated with telecommunication and online learning. Frontiers in Public Health, 8. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2020.574969
- Janjhua, Y., & Chandrakanta. (2012). Behavior of personality type toward stress and job performance: A Study of Healthcare Professionals. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 1(2), 109. https://doi.org/10.4103/2249-4863.104969
- Seddigh, A., Berntson, E., Platts, L. G., & Westerlund, H. (2016). Does personality have a different impact on self-rated distraction, job satisfaction, and job performance in different office types? PLOS ONE, 11(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0155295
- Eysenck, M. W., & Graydon, J. (1989). Susceptibility to distraction as a function of personality. Personality and Individual Differences, 10(6), 681–687. https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(89)90227-4