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How to avoid post-lockdown burnout

Re-opening after the long 2020 lockdown was endlessly joyful. For many though, it was a little overwhelming, and somewhat exhausting.

As some of us get a go at setting post-lockdown boundaries again, let's take an inward look at how we might be feeling and ways in which we can balance our social with our solitary a little better next time.

If you’re finding yourself completely fatigued after a weekend of socialising, you’re not alone. Our social stamina is depleted, and we can’t keep up with the pre-pandemic pace. Itching to see people and experience life outside our homes, many of us end up overwhelming ourselves. It’s called social burnout and can manifest itself in many ways. You might feel extreme tiredness and fatigue, maybe you feel irritated, sad or anxious after or during social plans. You could also start to feel disconnected from your friends or loved ones, or you might even start getting physically ill.

There are several factors contributing to social burnout right now. We’re understandably anxious about the global pandemic. The limited capacity of events and venues makes it harder to say no and generates intense FOMO (fear of missing out). And then there’s an internal expectation to embrace “freedom” and make the most of restrictions lifting – we tell ourselves that being home resting is boring or wasteful. And as the whole of Australia witnesses the situation in Victoria, there’s a very real fear that, just as we thought normality was returning, we could go back into another lockdown.

So how do you balance play with rest, adjusting to life out (and in and out and in) of lockdown? Here are some tips rounded up from Black Dog Institute, VICE and a life coach:

1. Try to avoid going from zero to 100 overnight. Limber up and ease yourself back into your social life.

2. Think about who you are spending time with and rebuild your relationships – and remember, they’ve changed as much as you have.

3. Look for opportunities, if you’re looking to enhance your current skillset or to retrain in a new field, a new qualification could help you move forward.

4. Seek help early via your GP

5. If you’re someone who struggles with saying “no”, remind yourself it’s OK to say no to plans if you’re not feeling up to it.

6. Take it easy as we have all adjusted to a much slower pace of life so prepare for more sleep and downtime than you’ve needed over the past 12 months.

Molly Bruce

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