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  • Coping with Social Anxiety after COVID

    It has been a very long year and a half. Lockdowns and social distancing have had a profound impact on our hearts and minds. But thankfully, as the vaccines roll out and the country begins to open back up, we are beginning to return to some kind of normal.

    While many people are jumping for joy with the idea of taking part in previously “normal” social gatherings and getting back to life pre-pandemic, there are also those of us who are feeling social anxiety at the same time. This is completely understandable.

    Being social requires a lot of skills. We learned as children how to interact with those around us. As we grew older, we learned even more of the intricate and complex social structures, rules, and more. Being away from society for a year and change has put a kink into these important skills for many of us. You may have learned how to ice skate as a kid, but if you haven’t been on skates for years, there’s a good chance you’ll break some bones!

    Here are some tips for dealing with any social anxiety you may be experiencing:

    Be Kind to Yourself

    Many will find it absolutely exhausting trying to relearn all of the social skills they haven’t practiced in some time. It’s okay, you’re not the only one who is struggling right now. Practice understanding WHY you’re struggling to better validate it.

    Balancing Act: Take Things Nice and Easy

    If you haven’t worked out physically in some time, you wouldn’t, on your first day at the gym, run for an hour on the treadmill and THEN lift heavy weights afterward. You’d take things slow so as not to hurt yourself.

    Apply this same logic to your social life. If you feel out of shape socially, then take things slow. Don’t suddenly fill your social calendar with all kinds of activities and events. Start with a small gathering and go from there.

    Balancing Act: Gently Push Yourself

    At the same time, you don’t want to use this as an excuse to completely socially disconnect. Just like going to the gym, humans are good at putting off the things we’re not looking forward to. However, you’re not going to get better if you never get started. Try putting at least one social event on the calendar every week for a month, and see what you can handle from there.

    Speak with Someone

    If you find your anxiety isn’t dissipating after some time, you may want to speak with a counselor. Providers at Riverside Psychology can give you the tools to help you get out of your rut and back into a healthy and joyful life.

    If you’d like to speak with someone about your anxiety, please reach out to us.