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Get A Clue: Is Social Exhaustion Not Exclusive to Introverts?

Social exhaustion signs as a result of the pandemic and several ways to prevent them

By Paulina PachelPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Get A Clue: Is Social Exhaustion Not Exclusive to Introverts?
Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

It took me a while to sit down and think of a clever approach to this subject. Throughout my process, I wondered about what I haven’t said about social exhaustion that hasn’t been said already? Social exhaustion or fatigue stems from a myriad of different reasons. For introverts, it’s people who have a tendency to suck the energy right out of us and how do I know this?

I’ve experienced it once when I first entertained the idea that I may have socially exerted myself on that fateful, blackout night at The Metro in Chicago during a Nothing but Thieves concert. I experienced it once more after having left my house for a brief moment to run errands. See, introverts have to mentally prepare themselves before they leave the comfort of their cocoon, but sometimes preparation can’t save an introvert from a social battery burnout.

Then, I realized that given the current climate where exhaustion is just an embedded part of our state of mind, I figured it’s an important topic to explore further. Perhaps you’ve clicked on this article because you’ve experienced a type of fatigue that seems vague, unfamiliar, perhaps temporary or you want to know why your sex drive is so low…either way here’s how to recognize various signs of social exhaustion and ways to prevent it.

Personally I don’t like putting people in a box. I think that the COVID19 pandemic has affected everyone differently in various stages of its spread. At first, all of us were panicking because this wasn’t a half-hearted possibility anymore…it was becoming real and the entire world was feeling its side effects. Later a lot of people experienced the virus on their own skin, lost friends and family, and eventually lost their jobs. With layers upon layers upon layers of stress, it’s fair to feel a bit lost and uncertain.

In times as rough as these, we need our friends and family the most; we yearn for their attention and affection. What if you’re quarantined alone? What then? Is that a recipe for disaster?

Only if you let it.

According to an article published in Choosing Therapy, curated by Jacklyn Gulotta and reviewed by Naveed Saleh, “How we interact and perceive socialization has changed, which means how we experience social fatigue may have also changed. As restrictions lift and people are able to engage freely, they may feel exhausted more quickly and anxious about the thought of being social at all.”

Introverts, as much as I hate to admit, cannot claim the concept exclusively for themselves. Contrary to my beliefs in the past, social fatigue can just as easily affect extroverts as well. The disdain is that extroverts are able to find ways to unleash those feelings of exhaustion and shift gears to think positively and occupy their time with pleasant things. Apparently, introverts hit a crossroads because they don’t put in as much effort to put themselves in a better mood, which I respectfully disagree with.

I can mope sometimes, BUT there’s this beautiful thing known as freedom of expression; I will write, I will blast my music, I will vent on Snapchat, I will binge watch Issac Butterfield’s inappropriate comedy bits and bam…I’m cured. I’ve refueled. I’m ready to run errands again…

The way to spot social exhaustion is to pay attention to your own mannerisms, first and foremost. The most obvious signs of social exhaustion are a combination of stress, anxiety, not wanting to go out, constantly tired, feeling melancholic or impulsive. These signs don’t have to hit you all at once, but as you notice your regimen change for the worse, give yourself time to rest and reset.

Rest, especially in the United States, for a lot of people is somehow a guilt-ridden activity. I’ve been there and I’ve heard friends, coworkers and family members express feelings of guilt and shame for taking a break. When I started working my first corporate job, these feelings were constant and health, mental or otherwise, was never properly prioritized. Rest is essential to prevent exhaustion and burnout, but also social fatigue.

As a Capricorn, I know we have a reputation for skipping out on social events and making plans with us that 99% of the time probably won’t follow through is close to impossible. I apologize, but I prefer to love y’all from a distance while I take a nice 45 minute incline walk on my treadmill followed by a hot shower. I like you, but I love my house and my company far more.

Besides, the article itself notes that:

“If you feel like you have already hit a burnout point, start to recover by getting some alone time. Being alone doesn’t have to be a negative thing; it simply means that you are being kind to yourself and putting your well-being first. Sometimes, being selfish is a good thing, especially when it means building a better version of yourself.”

That said, another great way to prevent social exhaustion is to commit to social events that you actually enjoy. For example, dinners out on the town with the people you love, people that can take a joke or hoist you up as you try to jump the fence running away from the cops…you know…normal stuff.

One thing that has helped me immensely over the years is setting small, attainable goals by sticking to a relatively minimal routine and setting healthy boundaries. For example, late 2021 I got a promotion and during my transition from one position to another, I made the commitment to myself that I will not answer work calls or emails after 5:30pm. The only exception were my clients on retainer for two of my entrepreneurial pursuits, but even they had an “office hours threshold”. Working from home has turned my studio apartment into a full time office space, so to separate the two, I leave the apartment and go out for a short walk. That way, I re-enter the house, both literally and figuratively, and feel “homey” once I return. I set down groceries or snacks and start preparing my meals, do a bit of self care and call up some friends.

Whatever works best for you to prevent yourself from socially exerting yourself or even exhausting yourself from the stress, the pressure and the uncertainty of the current climate, will be the right prescription for you. Be aware of your triggers, be aware of your surroundings and your routine changes.

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About the Creator

Paulina Pachel

I am an intricate mix of flavors and you'll get a taste of them through my writing pieces; versatility and vulnerability go together like a fresh-baked croissant+coffee.

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  • Naveed 28 days ago

    Thank you for sharing your perspective and offering practical tips for navigating social fatigue.....

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