By using a journal, you can plan your social activities better, based on how much energy they will use up.
As an introvert, it’s difficult to explain to people why I can’t always attend social gatherings. I must admit, sometimes I make up an excuse instead of telling them the whole story.
I mean, how do I tell friends that I get drained by having too many social interactions? That I recharge better alone?
“No, I’m not shy or anti-social. I just want to protect my energy so I can be more effective in engaging with people.”
What if I tell them that? Perhaps the plain truth would sound even more like I’m making up an alibi just to avoid going to whatever event arises.
Like It or Not, Socializing Cannot (Always) Be Avoided
As much as I want to, I can’t avoid all social events entirely. Socializing strengthens the bond between family and friends, and also creates new relationships.
The secret is having the right balance in your social activities.
Which events would you attend? Which ones would you rather skip? And how do you avoid having your energy drained in case you do attend these gatherings?
Well, a lot of it depends on your social battery.
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What Is a Social Battery?
A social battery is the amount of energy you have when it comes to interacting with people.
Extroverts are usually energized when interacting with people. Introverts, on the other hand, have a limited energy level when it comes to socializing. As a result, their social battery can be drained quickly if not properly monitored and recharged.
If drained unexpectedly, introverts can feel overwhelmed and exhausted. They may not be able to participate fully in conversations and other activities. They may also show signs of irritability or restlessness. When taken to the extreme, an introvert may even feel something similar to a panic attack.
To regain their energy level, they need to spend time alone again.
It’s important to note that even though introverts have limited social energy, this doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy being around people. They just need different strategies to keep their energy at an optimum level.
And this is where the benefits of journaling come into the picture…
Journaling as a Way to Monitor Your Social Battery
I have kept a journal since my high school days. But little did I realize that this simple habit could also be a useful tool for introverts like me.
For one thing, journaling allows me to speak my mind freely. It also helps me analyze my inner thoughts and feelings without the need to talk to people about them. (Some introverts process things better in writing versus out loud.) Last but not the least, a journal can help introverts monitor their social battery. Here’s how.
5 Ways Journaling Can Help Introverts Monitor Their Social Battery
1. You make sense of your social interactions.
After a social gathering, you can write about it and reflect on the event. You can journal about the estimated number of people that attended the gathering, the amount of time you spent there, and about the kind of interactions that took place.
Was there a lot of small talk? Were you with a familiar group of people? How did you feel after the event?
Depending on your preference, you can later classify the social activity as exhausting, moderately draining, or balanced. That way, you can begin to figure out if you’d attend this type of event again.
2. You become more aware of your energy level.
A journal can be handy in observing your energy level, whether you decide to do so daily, weekly, or even monthly.
Simply jot down the time(s) of day you noticed you were drained. Do the same thing when it comes to determining which days of the week are most exhausting.
Knowing your need for downtime will help you schedule future activities. Schedule them at a time when you feel less stressed. You can also lessen the activities that most drain your energy level.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
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3. You identify your triggers.
After recording the various social gatherings you attended, as well as observing your energy level during those times, you can start to identify your triggers. This will help your emotional health.
What kind of social activities leave you more exhausted? How long was it before your energy was drained? Were there certain types of socializing that quickly emptied your battery? Write it all down!
For me, an event with loud music and a large crowd is a red flag that will make me more hesitant to attend. Additional factors are the types of social interactions that may take place, like whether I connect with a lot of people or simply stay in the company of friends.
4. You’ll learn to set better boundaries.
After identifying your triggers and observing your energy level, you can now set some boundaries.
If a certain gathering would be a high-level energy event for you, you can decide whether you really need to go and note this in your journal. Perhaps you even want to classify events on a scale of 1-10 (from least to most draining). And you can also plan ahead and think of ways you can protect your social battery.
Saying no is something you must learn to do to avoid unexpected mishaps in your social activities. It is better to decline a gathering than go unprepared or attend something that will quickly drain you.
5. You identify the best self-care strategies.
You can also use your journal to write down various self-care strategies that will help protect your energy. Take note of coping mechanisms that have helped you survive the most taxing social gatherings, whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, taking a short walk… whatever works best for you.
Preserving Your Social Battery
Introverts need to socialize from time to time. The key is to find the right balance of activities to prevent your social battery from getting drained too much and too quickly. This is because an introvert’s brain is wired differently than an extrovert’s brain. Too much stimulation can cause exhaustion that overwhelms us and affects the way we engage with people.
So, via a journal, you can better manage how to socialize based on how much energy you’ll spend doing certain things.
It’s not a weakness to be easily stimulated by socializing; you just have to get to know yourself better. And what better a way to do that than by keeping a journal?
You might like:
- 8 Ways Journals Are a Sensitive Introvert’s Best Friend
- How Introverts Can Use Journaling as a Coping Mechanism
- 9 Ways Introverts Can Improve Their Emotional Health
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