Social hangover? Yep … it’s a thing! Introverts will know what I’m talking about and many people on the autistic spectrum experience it too.
Social hangover is the state of feeling hung over after a protracted period of socializing. An example – a day at school, attending a party, going to work, doing the grocery shopping. The energy it takes to be in socially demanding situations leaves you feeling exhausted, hung over.
For some, they are able to recover with a brief period of down time but for others it may take a weekend of complete isolation and shut down to recover. This state impacts more introverted personality types but it particularly impacts people with autism.
When the boys were younger, sometimes venturing out to a party resulted in 24 hours of crying, meltdowns, interrupted sleep and high anxiety. These days they negotiate these events better but still require a significant period of shutdown to recover.
Many people with autism just generally require more down time and/or time on their own than others may need. It’s really important to let your child know that it’s OK to spend time alone and to request breaks when they need them. This is all a part of good self regulation and emotional control.
My boys suffer from social hangover at the end of their school day. They request their “piece of quiet” time after school every day. We often make a special aromatherapy bath or make a nest in their beds with sensory items and an icy drink. After an hour they are restored.
Maybe there’s something in this alone time for all of us for recharging and restoring us? It actually sounds pretty good doesn’t it? Count me in!!!