Photograph by @sophie_nuttall_
Throughout the most bleak months of lockdown I pictured crowded bars on Friday nights; no social distancing, no masks, no rule of 6 and no home by 10 o’clock. All these liberties that we took for granted before the walls closed in on us in March 2020. We’ve been desperate to get back out partying, but now that this is all finally becoming possible again, maybe to be returning right back to ‘normal’ all of a sudden is just a bit overwhelming?
The few nights I have been out post-lockdown I’ve found myself checking the time and yawning much earlier on than I would have before, and taken a lot longer to recover following the evening. I don’t think this is just because my body got too comfortable with curfews and earlier nights. Socialising, meeting new people and boozing in bars takes skill and a year and a half at home means a lot of us will be out of practice. In addition to this, we’ve had ‘stay at home’ and ‘stay alert’ etc. drilled into us for so long that being pressed up against sweaty strangers on a night out is likely to fill us with fear.
After speaking to others and realising that I’m not the only one experiencing post-lockdown ‘social fatigue,’ I’ve conjured up a list of ways we can avoid total burnout, or, even worse, resorting to permanent isolation.
Please let me know if you can think of any others!
- Little & often
Instead of plunging yourself into big nights out with hundreds of people several times a week, maybe try to get your social calendar off to a more gentle start. Coffee with a friend or cocktails with a close group on a Friday evening might feel better to begin with than trying to meet lots of new people straight away. It’s true that more you go out and socialise with others the easier it becomes, but trying to make big plans all the time might be too much after a year and a half at home.
- Allow more time for rest
While it’s tempting to fill our diaries to the max after months of boredom, it’s important to schedule in rest, especially as we are no longer used to this way of life. If you find it’s taking longer to recover from an evening with friends, make sure your diary is more clear around the event to avoid feeling run down.
- Stay safe
If your fear is germs (or catching Covid) than before attending or hosting an event request everyone take a lateral flow test before and after. Alongside this, washing your hands regularly, eating a balanced diet and stocking up on Vitamin C will put your body in the best position to tackle the virus and as a corollary alleviate some of your worries.
- Be patient with yourself
Don’t beat yourself up if you are finding the prospect of socialising daunting. If you need to say no to plans or leave an event slightly earlier than you normally would, just be honest with your friends as I’m sure you’ll find many of them are feeling the same way.
- Don’t avoid it all together
As tempting as this may seem at times, it will get easier so don’t give up 🙂