To help stop the spread of COVID-19, many states went on lockdown for a couple of months earlier this year. This situation was a new one for most people as we watched life as we knew it completely change.
Instead of rushing to work or school each morning, families found themselves at home together throughout the day. This disruption to our routines caused anxiety for many.
Now, as public places reopen, a new type of anxiety has started to appear: social anxiety. Social situations that you once enjoyed might put you on edge now. Months of staying home may have also made any social anxiety you had before even worse.
We are here with some tips on how to manage social anxiety during this transitional period.
Practice preventive measures
Is your anxiety mainly driven by the fear of contracting this virus when out in public? If so, you can greatly reduce the chances of this happening by practicing preventive measures.
The first of these steps is washing your hands with soap and water throughout your day. You can use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Be sure to regularly disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Also practice social distancing, which includes avoiding social gatherings where you know there will be a large crowd.
Wearing a face mask in public, especially in situations where social distancing is hard to maintain, will protect others in case you have the virus (it’s possible to be infected but have no symptoms).
When leaving your house, visualize the situation you are heading to. What will you say to someone you haven’t seen in a while? How will you handle it if someone gets closer to you than you’d like them to be? Thinking these questions out ahead of time can help easy your anxiety.
Take your time
Don’t set the expectation of going back to life as it was before COVID-19. As we transition into this new normal, it is important to be gentle and patient with yourself, don’t feel bad if it takes some time.
Only visit public places and participate in social gatherings that fit your current comfort level. Keep an open dialogue going with your work supervisor. If you aren’t comfortable going back into the office at this time, see if working from home is still an option.
This patience also extends to others. Just because you feel comfortable in a certain social situation, that doesn’t mean everyone else there does. Be aware of this and how your actions could accidentally cause stress to others.
Ease your mind
When at home, make sure you are doing everything you can to relieve stress and take care of yourself. This could include working out, painting a picture, practicing breathing exercises, reading, writing – whatever works for you! Having these healthy hobbies to help alleviate your anxiety will allow you to be in the best mindset possible once you do leave the house.
Get back to old habits
Most of our routines changed drastically when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Some of us have been stress eating, not getting enough sleep and doing other things that aren’t the best for our emotional health.
Getting back into your old routine as much as you can might be a great way to transition into your new normal. For example, maybe you are slacking on your normal workout schedule. Try to start finding little ways to stay active throughout your day. Feeling like you are in a routine at home might make you feel more comfortable when you leave the house, too.
Discuss your feelings
There is no denying this new situation is a tough one. Because of this, there is no shame if you feel you need some professional help at this time. For people who were already suffering from anxiety, depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder, this is especially true.
Medical professionals are always available to talk, even via telehealth video call options. They will help you work through your stress and anxiety, provide coping tools and might prescribe medication.
Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.