As we say goodbye to the days of stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 restrictions, you may find yourself struggling with a whole new set of anxieties that were perhaps not an issue pre-pandemic. Social anxiety, symptoms of loss, and fear of the (still) unknown are all issues that are arising in people as we see COVID restrictions ease. Here are a few tips to help you navigate a new, post-pandemic world and perhaps a new, post-pandemic you.
- Ease into it.
You don’t have to conquer Rome in a day, and this means you don’t have to do all the post-pandemic things in one day either. If you find yourself experiencing more anxiety around social situations than you did pre-pandemic try easing into it by socializing with a couple of close friends at first. If you’re going to a social event, go with someone you know and trust. The thing about social anxiety is that while you’re busy worrying about your clothes, your mannerisms, and the things you say (or don’t say), other people are worrying about the same thing themselves!
- Think: Big Picture
Something that I like to do when I’m extremely anxious is to just stop focusing on it so much! I find that things get bigger and scarier the more energy I put into them. If I can reframe my thinking and begin to notice how trivial something that I’m stressing over may be, it helps me give my anxiety less power. This is also called “thought stopping”. If you find yourself ruminating over an event, (1) notice, (2) stop, and (3) reframe. This takes practice but once you feel comfortable with it, it can serve as a great tool.
- Know you’re not alone.
Many people may have lost someone or something in the past year whether that be a close friend, family member, business, or favorite restaurant. As you reenter the world, you may experience recurring symptoms of grief as you begin to notice that someone or something is not around anymore. Just know that you are not alone, we as a society got through this past year together and we are still getting through things together. Connect with someone who can relate to your feelings and share a common experience. Human connection can go a long way, and after this past year….we all need it.
– Rachael Trivette