Coping with Social Anxiety in a Post-Pandemic World
Maybe you’ve spent most of the past year and a half at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Or perhaps you were an essential worker who spent much of your time outside of your job alone because you didn't want to risk the health of your loved ones. Either scenario could be causing you to experience social anxiety as people begin gathering again after the pandemic.
No matter the reason, you can trust that you’re not alone in feeling this way right now.
Countless people are struggling to re-adjust to socializing as gatherings are permitted once again. If you’re having trouble remedying your social anxiety, these tips can help you enter social situations with confidence again.
Be Patient With Yourself
It’s okay if you don’t feel confident enough to go to large parties or introduce yourself to lots of new people at one event. Maybe you used to be a social butterfly, and now you feel ashamed that you’re not ready to keep up with your old social calendar.
Remember, socializing is almost like exercising – it takes a while to strengthen those muscles again. Be patient with yourself and give yourself all the time you need. The pandemic took up over a year of your life, so you deserve some grace right now.
Start With Your Inner Circle
Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable socializing with people you don’t know yet. Instead, you could start by simply getting together with your friends. And if it would make you feel more at ease, this is the perfect time for small, relaxing outdoor gatherings!
This would be a pressure-free environment that will allow you to get used to socializing again. Plus, you’ll be able to reconnect with the people you’ve missed the most, which will be a welcome relief after the pandemic.
Practice Conversational Skills
Practice makes perfect! And this applies to small talk as well. Maybe you’ve felt your mind blanking lately when you try talking to someone new. Try rehearsing a few conversation starters before going out to socialize.
Yes, you might feel a little bit silly practicing conversation starters in the mirror, but if you have a few questions to fall back on when you’re feeling lost at an event, you’ll be less nervous about chatting with new people.
Socialize Around Activities
Attending social events that are based on certain activities or hobbies can help you feel more comfortable. For instance, if there is a sport you enjoy, you could consider joining a recreational league. That way, you’ll always have something automatic to talk about with the other people in attendance.
You could also consider joining a book club – when you have a common subject to discuss, you probably won’t find yourself at a loss for words. You’ll also connect with people who have similar interests, so you may find it easier to talk to them.
Finally, being consistent with your efforts to socialize can help you adapt. It could be meeting up with a good friend for coffee, attending a birthday party for one of your relatives, working out with a group class, or going out after work with a few of your coworkers.
You don’t have to pack your whole calendar with events, but consistency will definitely allow you to adjust more quickly and get back into the swing of things.
Have you been struggling with social anxiety as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Reach out today discuss options for scheduling your first session.
Check out this link for more information on anxiety therapy.