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Photograph: Time Out/Shutterstock
Photograph: Time Out/Shutterstock

Feel like you’ve lost all your social energy? A psychologist explains how to deal

Sorry, this might not be the answer you want to hear

Kate Lloyd

Welcome to our series where, each week, we get experts to find solutions to your lockdown problems. Send yours to and we’ll try to get you an answer. In this instalment: dealing with decreased social energy post lockdown. 

Tara from Highgate says:

I feel like I've lost all my social energy post lockdown. I’ve forgotten how to make IRL conversation and get tired super quickly with pals. How do I build it back up?

Clinical psychologist Anna Mandeville says:

‘Perhaps lockdown has shifted our social energy. Many people I’ve worked with and talked with recently have said Covid-19 has helped them redefine what’s really important to them. Perhaps mindless networking and social climbing have lost some of their appeal, while staying emotionally close to people that matter has taken on a whole new importance. 

‘Fatigue for inauthentic ways of relating has increased and the flow of it reduced. I can’t help but feel this is a blessing. As we venture out into the world again with a new respect for our social connectedness, perhaps we can do this in a more heartfelt way, nurturing respectful and rewarding connections rather than making loads of plans. 

‘Pace yourself and try not to over commit. Depending on how important the plan is, you may want to be honest and reschedule, or you can attend but maybe make clear at the start you are only going to attend for a couple of hours. Let friends know you’re trying to go slower and not get back on the social treadmill. Tell them they are really important to you and you still want to make plans to see them. When they can see your context it’s easier for them not to take it personally. 

‘In situations where there is some obligation to be there, try and keep focused on why you are going and who is benefiting from you being there, taking the attention off yourself and your own wants and needs. Remember: if what you’ve planned is really important to you, you shouldn’t have to gear up to go because your heart should be in it.’

Read more in this series:

Feeling nervous about going back to real life? A life coach gives his tips.

Here’s what to do if things are getting tense with your housemates as we come out of lockdown.


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