Social Anxiety and the New Post-Covid World
Are you feeling uneasy about re-entering society now that Covid-19 quarantine rules are loosening up? Do you feel anxious to the point you find yourself continuing to stay isolated, even though you’ve had your shots? You are likely experiencing a form of social anxiety brought about by how long we have all had to avoid each other.
I know I personally had found the little nest I have formed for myself over these last 15 months a comfortable place, and it’s been hard to shake the desire to just stay there, though life and responsibility call. I’ve done a little reading on the issue, and apparently this is a pretty common phenomenon. Here are some tips I’ve gleaned for combating it:
- Keep the positive habits you’ve adopted during quarantine. If you’ve found solo rituals that bring you joy, a quiet walk in the evening, a good book before bed, an occasional bubble bath, keep doing them.
- Take baby steps. Keep in mind you don’t have to say yes to every invitation or request for your time. Ease into being social again. More of the old activities we used to enjoy here at SHAG are becoming available again. Pick one you really used to love to participate in and start there.
- Preplan your responses to new invitations. What are you doing now that might be more important to you? What kind of energy are you prepared to devote to other activities? Preplanning allows you to avoid automatically rejecting all invitations out of hand and giving yourself permission to be selectively social.
- Be prepared for your social circle to have changed. Some people may have moved away. Others may need to re-enter society at a different pace than you. Some never completely isolated themselves while others may still be fearful of coming out of isolation for the foreseeable future, even if they have had their shots.
As hard as it was to learn to be in quarantine, to learn to visit, work, go to exercise classes, etc. remotely, it may well be just as hard to let go of those newly formed habits. But you can do it. Just give it time.
Billie Overgaard June 4, 2021
Additional Resources on Social Anxiety
The Age of Reopening Anxiety -- The New Yorker
Adapting to Post-Pandemic Reality When You Have Social Anxiety -- verywell mind
What Is Social Anxiety? -- verywell health
How to Cope With Post-Pandemic Anxiety -- Mount Sinai
Shannon O’Neill, PhD, licensed psychologist at Mount Sinai, discusses the anxiety you may be experiencing as we see signs of the COVID-19 pandemic easing and how to overcome those complicated feelings.
How to Deal with Social Anxiety in a Post-Pandemic World | Dawn Potter, PsyD -- Cleveland Clinic
Take advantage of resources at Arrowhead Gardens to socialize