Millions feel overwhelmed by the thought of returning back to 'normal' life after lockdown

Friday, 14th May 2021, 2:44 pm

More than a quarter of adults feel overwhelmed at the thought of life after lockdown – when life admin and social occasions kick in.

A study of 2,000 adults found 38 per cent are now used to living in the ‘slow lane’ and 23 per cent are not looking forward to life becoming more fast-paced from Monday (May 17th).

Just over three in 10 (31 per cent) want to keep a balance of ‘me time’ and social plans as restrictions continue to ease.

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And 27 per cent went as far as to say they haven't missed having a diary full of events.

It also emerged that while 28 per cent are excited about getting their social life back, 25 per cent are anxious and 23 per cent feel nervous.

A third are not looking forward to being in busy, crowded spaces in the near future and 18 per cent don’t want the pressure of making small talk.

Instead, more than three in 10 would like to ease back into a busy social life post lockdown slowly rather than all at once.

And one in six are stressed out at the thought of the amount of life admin and organisation that comes with plans.  

A spokesperson for broadband provider Virgin Media, which commissioned the research to launch its free virtual assistant service, said: “There are clearly mixed feelings about life after lockdown as we accelerate towards a post-restriction world.

“After more than a year spent staying connected with loved ones online and socialising virtually, we’re approaching another shift with many feeling overwhelmed by the growing number of social plans and life admin that come with it.

“And while adapting a new busier routine, almost a fifth admitted they’d happily keep socialising virtually after lockdown with some video call get-togethers.

“The research reveals people have spent just under six hours rearranging events since March 2020 so it’s no surprise 15 per cent feel they would benefit from having a personal assistant to help ease them into a faster-paced routine.”

Booking struggles

The study also found 17 per cent aren’t looking forward to not being able to make appointments and bookings at venues like restaurants and bars.

Since April 12th, 53 per cent have struggled to get an outdoor reservation and had to make an average of five attempts before they could make a booking, leaving them frustrated (37 per cent) and disappointed (36 per cent).

A further 30 per cent admitted they will find it annoying having to book in advance rather than making spontaneous plans in the future.

The average adult already has three social events booked in for May and is expecting to spend £117 per month on average at social events this upcoming summer.

Despite upcoming plans, 43 per cent have found not going out during lockdown relaxing, with almost one in five not looking forward to no longer having restrictions as an excuse to not see people.

How to get out of going to a social event

More than half of those polled via OnePoll have told a white lie in the past to get out of plans, with fake illness (24 per cent), tiredness (19 per cent) and having to work (18 per cent) among the top excuses.

Events people have tried to get out of with an exaggerated version of the truth include socialising with colleagues (37 per cent), friends’ birthdays (20 per cent) and dinner with the in-laws (13 per cent).

Virgin Media has teamed up with TV personality Tom Read Wilson to provide a series of lockdown lifting life hacks, including a virtual assistant service and an online tool to help people say no when they need to.

Tom said: “It’s important to remember to pause and practice the art of moderation when reconnecting with loved ones and adjusting to a busier routine – the last thing we want is social burnout.

“And for those who need a bit of assistance wriggling their way out of unwanted plans or simply want to continue to embrace the joy of missing out, they can head to my ‘polite decline generator’ for some inspiration on how to say no with grace.”

Tom Read Wilson launches Virgin Media’s free virtual assistant service to help people ease into a faster-paced routine ahead of restrictions lifting. The celeb-style service will allow people to hand over life admin tasks to a remote-based PA, with online applications open now until 26 May. More information, including Tom’s tips for avoiding social burnout, is available here www.virginmedia.com/tomstricks

Virgin Media’s spokesperson added: "Everyone will have a different approach to adjusting to life after lockdown with a fifth of those surveyed saying they will continue to socialise virtually on some occasions.

"So whether they’re out and about meeting friends, catching up with family online, or sat solo on the sofa, we’re helping the nation bounce back however they choose.”

TOP 20 THINGS PEOPLE ARE NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO WHEN RESTRICTIONS CONTINUE TO EASE:

  1. Being in busy or in crowded spaces e.g. bars
  2. Waiting in queues
  3. Wearing a mask
  4. Spending lots of money
  5. Getting public transport
  6. Making small talk
  7. Not being able to use the lockdown restrictions as an excuse to not see people
  8. Not being able to get an appointment / booking e.g. at pubs, restaurants, hairdressers
  9. Talking about lockdown
  10. Commuting
  11. Constantly feeling tired
  12. Repeating the same stories to friends e.g. what you’ve been up to over lockdown
  13. Having no free time
  14. Having to plan ahead
  15. Making reservations e.g. at restaurants
  16. Having to get ready e.g. full face of make-up, styling hair etc.
  17. Trying to fit in seeing friends and family
  18. Balancing a social life with work life
  19. Not having as much time to sleep
  20. Less time to spend with your family