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On the one hand, we urgently want normality back, on the other hand, even minimal social contact is exhausting. A dilemma. We asked a psychologist.
We have been spending our everyday lives almost exclusively in our four walls for a year now. Now the days are getting longer again, the temperatures are rising and the sun is gaining strength. Long walks with friends are realistic again. And the free self-tests even allow careful home visits. One would think that we can no longer be stopped. Ready to take back the world (as far as possible). But why are we all so damn tired ?!
We're not talking about spring fatigue here. Many of us are completely exhausted on a social level. This phenomenon is also called "social fatigue". It describes the fact that you get your energy from being alone and not from fellowship with others.
We really want nothing back more than the "old normal". The time when you met for a cocktail after a long day at work, spent whole weekends with friends and went on vacation together. Now every invitation to take a walk together has the effect of participating in a marathon. And after the Skype call with your best friend, you would like to take a three-hour nap …
Psychologist and life and social counselor Katharina Smutny shares this observation: "I think that general overload and exhaustion are increasing. If you then 'squeeze' in a meeting or conversation on a stressful day, although you actually need some rest, this can also be done leach. " If you only report out of a "sense of duty", this also sucks in the remaining energy. In Corona times, the topics of conversation do not play an insignificant role either: "If stressful topics are predominantly discussed - such as the pandemic - or if the conversation is very one-sided, then it also gets on the nerves."
The habituation effect of being alone
The expert attributes the fatigue in social situations to our changed way of life. Many of us have spent the past year in isolation and with little social contact. This can lead to a habituation effect, says Smutny. Nevertheless, she does not believe that meeting friends - even after a long period of seclusion - is overwhelming. The strong contrast between calm and hustle and bustle creates a feeling of exhaustion. "After a long vacation in nature, returning to the big city and suddenly standing in the narrow, overcrowded subway - it feels like that."
The new deceleration
Our sense of time has also adapted to the situation in the course of the pandemic and even slowed down for some. "Let's assume I've been in the home office for a long time, can organize my working hours relatively independently, don't have to cover a time-consuming, stressful journey between the office and home. The afterwork also falls flat. Suddenly I can take things slower and more Adjust my pace. And that also changes my sense of time, "explains Smutny. So it is not surprising that those who experience deceleration find it difficult to find their way back into a faster way of life.
Back to social life
Have we forgotten the social life? "No, that's too much stored in us. People are social beings," says the psychologist. Due to the limited physical proximity, masks and (video) telephony, it has become more difficult for us to grasp the facial expressions and gestures of our counterpart. That is exhausting! Nevertheless, Smutny has a positive outlook on the future: "As soon as a normal get-together is possible again, you will gradually and naturally get used to life as it was before Corona."