Brits feel overwhelmed as lockdown restrictions ease, survey finds

Boris Johnson announces further lifting of lockdown rules

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A study of 2,000 adults found 38 percent are now used to living in the ‘slow lane’ and 23 percent are not looking forward to life becoming more fast-paced from Monday. Just over three in 10 (31 percent) want to keep a balance of ‘me time’ and social plans as restrictions continue to ease. And 27 percent went as far as to say they haven’t missed having a diary full of events.

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

A third are not looking forward to being in busy, crowded spaces in the near future and 18 percent 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 percent feel they would benefit from having a personal assistant to help ease them into a faster-paced routine.”

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

Since April 12, 53 percent 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 percent) and disappointed (36 percent).

A further 30 percent 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 percent 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.

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 percent), tiredness (19 percent) and having to work (18 percent) among the top excuses.

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

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.”

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

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