How to Avoid Social Exhaustion

Posted on June 2, 2021

How to avoid social exhaustion

As our calendars fill up for the first time in more than a year, it can feel daunting to have plans in the diary again. After months of forced isolation during lockdown, you may feel less confident about going out to socialise. Here’s how you can ease yourself back into a busy routine while looking after your wellbeing.

Be open and honest

It’s important to be open about how you feel with friends and family – and to allow them to be open with you too. If there are social situations you don’t feel ready to return to yet, that’s fine and perfectly understandable. Be honest with loved ones about what you feel comfortable with and what’s out of your comfort zone. This might mean continuing to meet up outdoors, or meeting one-on-one instead of in a larger group. 

Make time to rest and recharge

Balancing work and home life has been hard for many of us during the pandemic, but now we have to remember how to make time for a social life too. Understand that going out and being sociable might leave you feeling more fatigued than usual and that you may need more time to rest between plans. There’s no shame in scheduling some sofa time and weekends off to recharge your batteries after socialising. 

Eating for Energy

Socialising also comes with more lunches and dinners outside as hospitality begins to open up. To avoid overindulging, plan ahead. Planning what to eat when going out can help keep on track with a healthy, balanced diet and makes sure we are not eating more than we need to, this can also help maintain healthy weight. Make sure to stay active and undergo the recommended 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. Walks and exercise classes are a good way of socialising and keeping fit. 

Quality over quantity

Going from zero plans to a packed diary might be a little overwhelming, so begin by prioritising the people and plans that are best for your wellbeing. Instead of trying to do as much as possible, focus on rewarding, enjoyable experiences that will remind you why leaving the house can be a positive thing. Having plans that you truly look forward to will help you feel more confident about heading out.

Go at your own pace

The pandemic has affected us all in different ways and some of us will find it easier to return to socialising than others. Don’t be afraid to go at your own pace and don’t feel pressured to do anything you aren’t ready to do. It’s okay to say no or turn down an invitation and it’s also normal for your energy levels and enthusiasm to vary from day to day. As you socialise more, your tolerance will improve and making plans will feel less daunting. 

Don’t take social media too seriously

If you are feeling less than confident about socialising, comparing yourself to others can make things worse. Remember that what you see on social media is carefully curated. Those you follow may look like social butterflies, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling some of the same anxiety about socialising again. If you find yourself caught up in a comparison loop on social media, take a break from your phone to focus on your own well being instead.

Remember that we’ve all been through a lot

Most importantly, remember that we have all been through an unprecedented and life-changing experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understandable that returning to socialising might be a challenge for many of us, particularly if our mental wellbeing has suffered as a result of the coronavirus crisis.  

The Centre for Mental Health predicts that as many as 10 million people, or almost 20% of the population, will need new or additional mental health support as a consequence of the pandemic.(1) So be kind to yourself, and to others, as we gradually return to normality. If you do feel like you need some extra support with your mental health, speak to your GP.


  1. Nick O’Shea. (2020). Covid-19 and the nation’s mental health Forecasting needs and risks in the UK: October 2020. Available. Last accessed 1st June 2021.