Many of us are feeling emotionally and socially drained after the first few weeks of ‘the return to normalcy’.  You may even feel exhausted of being exhausted, and that is perfectly okay.  The reality is that we just experienced 15 months of isolating, stressful, and unpredictable times. It has been a strange time and the constant unknown has had an impact on our nervous systems. Although life is somewhat returning back to how it once was, it will take some time for things to settle down again.

It is imperative to have compassion for ourselves during this time, and to recognize that we have been through a lot. It is perfectly okay if you feel like your social stamina is not as strong as it once was, because the reality is that it’s not. We just spent over a year strengthening other parts of ourselves; such as our emotional resilience and patience. We must acknowledge these areas of growth, and continue to take things one day at a time. In the meantime, there are practices that can ease us back into feeling refreshed and energized.

The excitement of seeing friends and family, attending events, and traveling outside the home has lead to people overscheduling themselves. I have spoken to peers about this, and we all follow the same thought process of not wanting to take any opportunity for granted. Many of us have felt socially deprived for some time now, and it may be difficult to rationalize saying no to the various social activities that are beginning to resume. It is important to recognize our boundaries when it comes to how much energy we are able to exert, and to schedule times to recharge ourselves throughout the week. Our current social battery and refresh periods may look different than they once did. And that is perfectly okay.

A few ideas of ways to recharge yourself:

  • Nature walk, run, or hike.
  • Get sweaty
  • Move in any way your body feels/craves
  • Cook or bake a new recipe
  • Do absolutely nothing at all


A note about energy balance:

The body and the mind work in unison together. When the mind feels off, there is a physical effect, and vice versa. When we use the brain during social interactions and learning, it consumes calories similar to how physical movement does. As our daily activities, social interactions, and to-do lists increase, our energy is depleted at a rapid rate. You may be experiencing a change in appetite and hunger cues, and that is perfectly normal. It is so important that we listen to these cues and nourish ourselves properly.  The brain accounts for 20% of the body’s energy use at resting state, and our brains are doing the most right now.

The most important part of our ‘return’ is to be realistic about the fact that normalcy will look different for everyone’s pre versus post pandemic existence. This isn’t something to dwell on, however it is perfectly normal to feel resentment or frustration for the way things are. If you can allow yourself to feel these things, then you will inevitably reach a place of acceptance. From here, we take things one step at a time, all while continuing to have compassion for ourselves and others.