People who meet me, often have a hard time believing how painfully shy I am. For years, I have practiced and forced myself to go out in public, give presentations, lead groups, performed on stage. I'm actually pretty good at it and display a very confident persona when in those situations.
However, when the experience ends, every ounce of my personal energy has gone. My body may still be charging ahead, but my mental self wants to crawl in bed for a couple days. In those situations, I'm always hyper alert to read the non-verbal communications of the people around me and work to respond appropriately to the verbal communications as well. Maintaining that level of energy through a period of time saps the spark of life.
Audiences take a great deal of energy, but the largest draw on my personal strength is one-on-one experiences. Intense attentiveness sucks out who I am as I feel required to be in the same place as my companion. I want to be nice and supportive. I want to care and be cared for, but too often, conditions predicate reciprocation and the negotiation of those terms takes more concentration than monitoring an entire audience.
Once the terms are determined (with friends, lovers, partners, co-workers) then the energy drain is not the same and can sometimes flow the other way.
It takes some time to recharge the batteries.
For me. The recharge comes from serious alone time. I don't want to be on the phone. I don't want to be with anyone. Even the dogs can demand too much attention. Give me music, a book, something to cook, and increasingly, a chance to write. That combination gives me a private outlet without mental concentration outside my own sphere. As I turn the pages or the food comes together and as the words fill the white space on the page, I can see an accomplishment that is just for me and by me.
Today was an awesome recharge day. I accomplished many housecleaning tasks, got the needed groceries, and cooked. I made probably the best hummus I've made so far: I discovered a new recipe and I, of course, took off with my own variation. I also did some experimentation to figure out a recipe I've been considering for over six months - that started out of a joke in my office. When I get it worked out, I'm sure there will be a blog about the various awards I win with it.
Now, my mental batteries are nearing full again, but my physical batteries are wearing down. I'm all showered and know there are clean sheets on the bed. There aren't many nights better than that. I'm going to bed alone, but it's oh so nice!