Managing social exhaustion at work​

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Managing social exhaustion

In any role, there is an amount of expected interaction with others – either face-to-face, on the phone or via email.​

Managing the requirements of the role, in addition to managing the social demands of any workplace, can be challenging and at times exhausting.​

Combining these elements with emotion regulation and sensory difficulties can leave us feeling exhausted and overwhelmed.

Spoon Theory is an analogy for having limited choices in your day​.

At the beginning of each day, you are given a number of ‘spoons’. Each activity / task requires a number of ‘spoons’ to complete.​ For example getting out of bed = 1 spoon, eating breakfast = 1 spoon.

​If we wake up tired from poor sleep, or tired from a big day at work previously, we might not be starting the day with the same amount of spoons. ​

Soon we realise we need to conserve spoons in order to complete activities / tasks. Start prioritising which activities / tasks deserve spoons.​

By doing things each evening after work, and on weekends, to recuperate and replenish our ‘spoons’ we are better able to function at work, interact with others and regulate our emotions.

Watch a 9-minute video: Why socialising can be painful for people with autism.

Watch a video on the Activity to Rest Ratio

Further reading

End of Module Questions

  • What are some activities/tasks that you do now that help to replenish your ‘spoons’?​
  • What activities/tasks could you trial that might help you replenish your daily ‘spoons’ quota and help you get through a working week?​

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