How To Identify And Deal With Signs Of Social Exhaustion

To those who thrive being around others, the idea of social exhaustion is far from reality. However, social exhaustion is a concept that needs to be treated with seriousness and importance. 

According to psychiatrist Dr. Julie Smith, social exhaustion is nothing new but has become aggravated since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Since the reopening of large gatherings and public places, socializing has become a symbol of celebrating freedom. Dr. Smith explains that after spending so much time inside with little to no contact with others, that became our new comfort zone. Once we move out of our comfort zone by gathering once more or interacting with others, we start to see the signs of social exhaustion (via the BBC).

Although going out and being amongst people seems almost like an obligation to others, you should establish your boundaries and limits. Listening to the signs of social exhaustion in yourself and learning to take care of them is the best solution for your mental and physical health.

Signs you are suffering from social fatigue

According to PsychCentral, some signs of social exhaustion may not present themselves until you're already far gone. Symptoms include depression, anxiety, low energy, irritability, isolation, and trouble sleeping. Research shows that people might start seeing signs of fatigue after three hours of socializing. After socializing, if you start experiencing fatigue, overreaction, or inability to focus, you might be starting to show signs of social exhaustion.

Knowing your limits is key to figuring out how you suffer from social exhaustion. Although both introverts and extroverts can see signs of fatigue, they may present themselves at different times and different levels. Social exhaustion is referred to commonly in the example of a battery. If you feel like a battery on low energy that can no longer function properly, you are most likely suffering from social exhaustion. Typically, the mind and body will be the first to let you know of signs of social exhaustion because there'll be a need to retreat and be alone (via LeggUp).

Dealing and treating social exhaustion

If you're dealing with social exhaustion, there are ways you can alleviate the symptoms and renew your energy.

As explained by clinical psychologist Aimee Daramus, there are a few limits you can set to protect your peace. Before heading out to any event or gathering, make sure the event is one you are sure you will enjoy. If you know that the event you are going to is complex, it might be best to find a way out of the event. Heading only to events you know you'll have a good time gives you a larger threshold against social exhaustion. Along these lines, if you feel compelled to attend an event that might later affect your mental health, try to drop in for a few moments before heading out. This is best for introverts who have a hard time at events, as it doesn't require a long commitment.

Choosing Therapy suggests scheduling some alone time for yourself, even if you have a busy schedule. Setting some time apart for yourself gives you a much-needed breather to recharge yourself for your next event. Self-care looks different from person to person, but it's needed to reconnect with yourself and your peace. If you find it difficult to practice self-care, another solution would be to speak to a professional that may better assist you with social exhaustion.