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"Am I Experiencing A Post-Lockdown Social Hangover?"

Q) After two years of lockdown, I'm so used to not going out anywhere and now I really struggle with having the energy to go out. Every weekend is just the same now. What shall I do?

A) Me too- I'll drink to that!

If we had to drink every time someone said that they were socially drained post-lockdown, who knows where we would end up. Ironically, what we are all experiencing is a 'social hangover'- the feeling of exhaustion after socialising post lockdown.

Although we don't like to admit it, lockdown has been our life for two years now. We've had to adapt and adjust significantly to a new temporary way of life, so going back to 'normal' (whatever that is) is more challenging than we like to believe. It was only last week that I found myself on holiday, socialising with the same amount of people that I would have socialised with before lockdown. And yet, I continue to sit here trying to suffice the bouts of little energy I have left from something that wouldn’t usually exhaust me.

So why do we feel SO exhausted?

Despite the ongoing Zoom calls, the inability to socialise face to face regularly is enough for our mind to become unaccustomed to. The exhaustion you experience trying to maintain exercise after not exercising for a while is the same thing, except were our exercising our mind, and this can become tiresome when we haven’t done so for this long as we’re using more energy to use it. With any exercise, this feeling of deflatedness can be overturned the more we exercise, so much so that it becomes second nature to us again. Additionally, everyone is so determined to make up for lost time that invitations are thrown at you left, right and centre making it even more draining to maintain the social aspect of our lives that have been lost during lockdown.

What can we do about it?

Don't avoid social situations because it uses too much energy. Coming from an introvert who enjoys the company of others equally as much as having a quiet night in with a good film, I know how much energy you have to build up before throwing yourself into situations, but stick with it. Throwing yourself into social situations will only retrain your mind gradually and in turn become standard routine. This doesn't mean pushing yourself too much that you're implicating your mental health. Learn to listen to your boundaries and do as much as you can tolerate. I've learnt to understand that too many events in one week can emotionally exhaust me, so I will prioritize certain events in the week over others.

Start small. Don't be afraid to do what's comfortable for you, instead of jumping on the bandwagon to attend large, overly priced events to celebrate the end of lockdown. Instead, meet up with friends individually and go somewhere close by that requires minimal effort until you are comfortable to meet up with larger groups. Remember to take time for yourself and recharge in between socialising if it becomes too overwhelming.

Best wishes, Bird Talk xo

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