Most people find that they generally suffer from some sort of anxiety. However, you may be feeling especially anxious thinking about returning to “normal life” after the pandemic.
Maybe you’re triggered by social anxieties from attending public outings, going to work, or dating. Maybe you’re concerned about your health, whether you’ll ever feel comfortable again not wearing a mask around someone. These worries can really take a toll on us — how we think about life after Covid and how we actually behave, too. You might even be trying to avoid some social gatherings because of it.
The good news is that everyone is experiencing the effects of the pandemic, particularly with our recently worsened social skills. So, that means the social awkwardness that you might be facing is a collective experience – we’re all going through it together. However, some will get back on track to “normal” day-to-day socializing a little easier than others.
If you want to be the person that eases in a little better to your old social life (or new one, if you’ve never had one), you can start practicing today!
Maintain your relationships
Even if it takes YOU to initiate the conversation, make the effort to keep up your communication with others. Continue practicing your communication skills whether that be texting, over the phone, or on work Zoom calls! The longer you wait to practice the skill of communication, the more difficult it becomes. By maintaining your relationships, you will have people to mingle with again once normal life starts to kick in. It will also make it a whole lot easier to talk to these people once you meet up by having conversation starters.
Accept the obvious
It’s easy to act like everything is “normal” again when restrictions are lifted; it’s more difficult to embrace that everything is so NOT normal! Start embracing that it IS a little awkward to hug a friend now or sit at a restaurant table and be served. Acknowledge your social awkwardness instead of fighting it! Don’t be shy to point out the elephant in the room when you’re out — mention the awkwardness of the hug to your friend or how weird it feels to be served by your waiter!
It can be quite stress-provoking to go out now. We were once so used to the go, go, go! And we’ve learned it really takes a toll on us when we meet up with friends or family, run an errand, or have to commute somewhere. Try planning ahead in these cases. Maybe for you that means scheduling out extra time to get ready and choosing an outfit, or prepping yourself mentally and emotionally to attend a public outing, or doing some yoga or exercise before meeting people as a form of meditation. But, most importantly, be flexible and patient with yourself!
Maybe it’s time for change!
Maybe returning back to “normal” isn’t what you want. Maybe you’ve been inspired to have a quieter laid back life, maybe you’ve adopted new hobbies, or made new types of friendships. Just because everyone else is resuming to their old ways, it doesn’t mean you need to as well! Be inspired by change. Embrace this time to form a new lifestyle for yourself that maybe involves more self-care and reflection time, re-identify your values and focus on your needs and wants TODAY, not necessarily where you were a year ago!
These tips may help you be a bit more prepared to face your social challenges. However, remember that “normal” looks different for everyone. Find YOUR normal. Try to cut the comparisons and focus on how you want your life to look now and in the future. Let’s not look back on the past and try to get back to where we were, but focus on where you’re heading!
Interested in talking out these anxieties? Book a free consult today with one of our therapists!