Drained

I’ve always known I was introvert.  My “safe” space has always been a quiet nook with a book.  I recharge through time in nature and carefully plan downtimes between social events.

I’ve always known I was an introvert.

But I’ve just now made a connection.

 

The beginning of the school year is hard on everyone – parents, students and teachers. But I’ve always seemed to find it more difficult than some. Yes, my feet are tired at the end of the long days and my voice cracks from overuse.

But I also inevitably feel drained for the duration of August.

Fragile and bit raw.

Now, sure, I’m not sleeping enough and overwork is a given at the beginning of the year.

But there’s more to it than that.

I have 120 new people that fill my days, filing into my room in groups of 30 every 54 minutes. I have dozens of new coworkers to get to know and hundreds of parents with whom to work. I have no moments of solitude once I enter the school, simply times of noisy and less noisy. In front of the class, I’m animated. Acting a role for the sake of connection and the lesson. In the halls, I act and interact.

I’m good at all of this – the teaching, the managing, the multi-tasking.

But it comes at an expense.

Because for any introvert, being social takes energy.

And navigating new social situations requires even more.

 

Looking around my classroom on Friday, I could see the effects of the sustained efforts on my students that seem to be of an introverted nature. Like me, they were drained from the energy required to be in an always-on environment. Like me, their nervous systems were on overload and were demanding some quiet and alone time.

 

I just made this connection between August and exhaustion yesterday while teaching. This morning, I tried (emphasis on tried) to explain it to my very extroverted husband. He just didn’t get it. He wants to be able to fix things and gets frustrated when it’s not an easy fix and, even worse, one he can’t understand.

Like always, I’ll adjust and learn to find the balance in an extroverted world. But for now, I’m just reminding myself that August doesn’t last forever and I will be recharged again soon.

But first, it’s time for some Motley Crue tonight! Hey, no one ever said that introverts can’t be headbangers:)

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Drained

  1. I completely understand this. I am the Facilities Manager in a completely open office of 250 people. I often joke that it feels like I’m working in a Jet Blue terminal. Exhausting. 🙂

    Have fun at the show!!

  2. “August to exhaustion” — love the lyrical word choice. I’m an introvert, too. It’s hard when you really need and want the social connections, but at the same time, they sap you of energy and you need to take time to recharge, carefully doling out what energy you do have.

  3. OH my goodness- Yes. We only get a break of 2 weeks between the end of the year and the beginning of the new and we have summer school students on top of out regular ones. Plus this year we moved locations. I took a week off after that summer school because I learned from last year if I didn’t I would be in serious trouble by November. It’s like I can’t calm down my nervous system at times… Thank god for meditation, yoga and the beach!

  4. Like you I am an introvert and re-charge in the quiet. I found it interesting what you said about your extrovert husband. My ex- husband was the ultimate extrovert. Yes, he wanted things done quickly yet he expected me to do the fixing part.

  5. My 13yo son is an extreme introvert and I’ve noticed this exhaustion & heightened need for alone time at the beginning of the school year since he was six or so. Once you realize what you need it’s much easier to meet it. Knowing is half the battle…or something like that.

    1. My son is also an introvert. He’d go to his father’s and all me crying because he couldn’t tolerate all the screaming and yelling. Needless to say, he doesn’t see his father any more, and because I am also an introvert, I know exactly what he needs!

  6. Yes, yes, and yes! This is one of the reasons I’m so relieved not to be teaching this year. It can be exhausting… especially when you have to be “on” for 10 hours a day. And for introverts, being “on” is NOT their default setting. It’s overwhelming and exhausting. I hope you have plenty of opportunities to recharge and regroup this year!

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