After a year of pretending to enjoy Zoom happy hours and talking to our dogs as if they could respond, the world has slowly started to open up again. Back in March 2020, the thought of having to isolate from friends and family was anxiety-inducing, but now in 2021, seeing them again might actually be worse. In case you forgot, talking to other humans is absolutely exhausting.
I for one would have been fine staying in my apartment forever, but after receiving my coveted second dose of Moderna, my best friend had the audacity to ask me to go to dinner. AT A RESTAURANT. As someone who has only received contactless delivery in brown bags at my front door for an entire year, the thought of having to sit near strangers and take my mask off immediately made me sweat. But I knew I had to rip the Band-aid off (literally off my arm and figuratively) and go to dinner. And I treated it like the only other self-inflicted, exhausting thing I do: as a workout. Now, I may not have any personal training certifications, but I am certified in overthinking (I certified myself). Do these moves to get you in shape to interact with other humans.
• 3 reps – writing conversation topics on note cards
• 4 reps – talking to myself in the mirror
• 6 reps – outfit changes
• 1 rep – going to the grocery store to practice small talk
• 5 reps – check to make sure I brought hand sanitizer with me
Socializing is like a muscle, and a year of isolation led to major atrophy of my social butterfly muscles. Long story short, I forgot how to talk to people. And in case you’re in the same boat, here’s how I warmed up. I pulled a full Leslie Knope and wrote down some post-vax conversation topics on my phone, such as “OMG, how sore was your arm?” and “Are people eating indoors at restaurants now?” But I didn’t stop there—I got in some reps of legitimately practicing talking to myself in the mirror. Spoiler alert, I’ve still got it. Another hot warmup tip, hit up the grocery store instead of using Instacart, gotta get some small talk practice in.
And as if this all wasn’t enough to tire me out before the workout (the dinner), I hadn’t even gotten dressed yet. Naturally, I changed my outfit six times because after a year in sweats, I also forgot how to put an outfit together. There’s also a lot more to remember now when leaving your house. Before the pandemic, I could hardly remember my phone, keys, and wallet, but now, I also had to remember to bring a mask, hand sanitizer, and my own utensils (yes, I’m that kind of germaphobe). So for the final phase of the warm-up, set some reminders to grab everything you need before walking out the door. You’ll know you’re ready to go when your makeup has already completely sweat off onto the inside of your mask.
• 1 rep – first hug in a year
• 3 reps – getting up from table to wash hands
• 2 reps – switching tables to get away from a sneezer
• 6 reps – trying to figure out how to work a QR code menu
• 5 reps – exercising small talk muscles (this isn’t easy, make sure to have a workout buddy spot you for this one)
While social interaction itself is exhausting, getting to the restaurant was also way more tiring than I remembered. Walking through crowded streets and having to get in an elevator with strangers will make you want to take a shower in hand sanitizer before even sitting down. And in case you’re like me and haven’t been touched by another human in a year, beware, your friends will probably hug you. But much to my surprise, hugging another person isn’t as scary as I thought it would be as a vaccinated queen. It’s kind of like how doing burpees isn’t as bad as you thi—okay, who am I kidding, burpees are always torture.
For the most part, I think I held my own at my first post-vax dinner (minus getting up to wash my hands three times). My friend was able guide me through how to access a menu on my phone with a QR code, she let us switch tables after the guy next to us had his fifth sneezing attack, and she didn’t think I was a total freak for bringing my own utensils or wiping down the table with Clorox wipes.
• 3 reps – remembering how lucky we are to be #vaccinated
• 1 rep – throwing all my clothes in the wash right away
• 2 reps – accepting more plans to keep building stamina
Like most workouts, this one was challenging, I got sweaty, and there were moments when we wanted to give up and go back to doing nothing, but the discomfort was worth the endorphin high at the end. Now, like most workouts, I’m so exhausted from putting in effort one time that I need to take two weeks off.
Image: Arun Sharma / Unsplash