As the school year winds down and the days are warm and sunny, people’s schedules tend to fill up. End of the year parties and school events, combined with family get-togethers or trips, can leave teens with little time for themselves. While the increased socialization can be enjoyable, the uptick in socialization can also feel draining if not balanced with some downtime. Sometimes, caught up in the whirlwind of exciting activities, we don’t realize the toll this constant level of activity has taken until we have a free moment, and once we do, we may feel like we’re going to crash. For others, the feeling of too much socialization is apparent sooner. This is because people’s social batteries deplete at different rates.
Your social battery indicates how much energy you can put into spending time with others. When a person’s social battery is high, they want to be around people all the time. They may extend an afternoon activity into dinner and then even a sleepover. When a person’s social battery is low, it can affect the person’s mental health and behavior. It can be overwhelming to many individuals when their schedules get too full. You also may feel like you need a break before some of your friends do, and it is important to realize that this is perfectly typical. It can be difficult to say no to plans when you feel like you need a break, whileyour friends are still feeling very social. However, it is extremely important to become aware of when you are feeling depleted and have strategies to use when you feel like you need to recharge your social battery.
It is essential for even the most social people to carve out time for themselves. Whether it is ten minutes or an hour, everyone needs time to themselves to decompress. How you decompress is a matter of individual preference. Reading a book can help people escape their everyday lives and worries and focus on the words on the page. Some people might find scrolling on social media or watching a movie or a tv show to be an effective way for them to decompress. Watching your favorite tv show or a new one you like allows time for you to take a break and zone out. Lastly, cooking or baking can be something fun if you are looking to be more active but not social. Many people find cooking to be very therapeutic and is a great way to spend some time alone and to try a new recipe.
If you start feeling like your social battery is low while you are in the middle of a social situation, there are things you can do to take a quick break. Learning breathing techniques can help you calm down and reset your mind. Taking deep breaths is always a good start and an excellent practice to do throughout your day. Square or box breathing can be a really effective breathing tactic to help recharge your social battery when you might not have time to step away and take time for yourself. Square breathing is a method where a person will inhale for four seconds, hold their breath for four seconds, exhale for another four seconds, and then hold that breath for an additional four seconds. A good way to think about it is to imagine a square as your breathing in and out. You can repeat that breathing technique for as long or short as you want. This allows you to control your breathing and help center your body. This can be very calming and de-stressing.
Another great way to recharge your social battery is exercise. Going on a simple walk around the neighborhood or hiking can be very therapeutic. Physical exercise is good for your body in many ways. Not only does it help your health by preventing disease and strengthening muscles, but it can also improve sleep quality. Physical activity affects the brain as well. When you move your body, a person can release dopamine. All of this can help stimulate your brain to feel better and help clear your head. It is also great for a person to get fresh air. Many students and adults are stuck indoors at school or their workplace, and it can be hard for them to take a moment to get outside. Even if going on a walk isn’t your thing, it can be really important to just get out and enjoy the fresh air.
Summer is both a fun and tiring season. Having more time to socialize can be exciting, but it can also become difficult to manage. Learning to be aware of the signs that you need a break is essential, and it is helpful to figure out what works for you when you need downtime and implement those techniques into your daily life. The summer is a great time to find the best way for you to decompress and make sure your social battery is recharged. When you focus on healthy ways to take time for yourself, you can enjoy all the great activities of summer and also prioritize your mental health.