Things are likely to change over time as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are gradually easing. Reduced social exposure may flare up social anxiety – for some people, returning to ‘new normal’ may be daunting. However, social anxiety can be navigated with some techniques.
As the lockdown restrictions are gradually being lifted, reconnecting with the outside world may seem daunting. Some people may feel particularly anxious about reconnecting. Some with social anxiety might experience heightened anxiety about the prospect of socializing again. Some who fear germs, such as some people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), might worry about re-entering public spaces. Even people who don’t normally have these tendencies might share similar worries.
It is sad that there is no definitive answer to when life will go back to how it was. However, its about time we prepare ourselves mentally so that we can get on with our lives safely.
Here are eight ways to manage anxiety as you step out.
- Acceptance – A pandemic took place and got the world to a standstill. Social distancing became a part of life. We got a taste of living isolated. It is essential to have acceptance for what has happened and how it has brought the change. Accept the change, it may feel uncomfortable but you will get used to it with time.
- Take one step at a time –Begin with stepping out of your house every few days so that you get adapted to the situation outside as well as get used to wearing a masks and gloves. As you get comfortable you may try stepping out of the gate, if you don’t feel secure stick to being in your vicinity, with time you will feel confident to get pass the gate. So, take it slow.
- Positive affirmations – While we are flooded with so much Covid-19 news it becomes hard to stay positive. Positive affirmations – phrases that we repeat to ourselves, this evokes self-positivity. Phrases that you repeat to yourself may not be true at first but with constant repetition your subconscious mind will believe in it, bringing a change to your thinking process as well as your life.
- Refrain overloading Covid news – Yes, the situation is bad, it is going out of control but that does not mean you binge on Covid news. The more you pay attention to it, the more damage it will cause you. Watching the news once in a day to catch up with the headlines will be a good idea. Don’t let news channels stress you out instead keep yourself busy with things that bring you joy.
- Keep the distance – As you begin to step out make sure you limit touching any surfaces. You may be wearing gloves but still it would be wise to be conscious of keeping distance.
- Exercise – Sweat, get your heart pumping and strengthen your body. If you want to step out you need to be strong. If your body is in good health it will be able to fight anything. Exercise not only helps your body but also your brain. You will be alert about your surroundings, you will think clearly and feel confident about stepping out.
- Take precautions – Take them seriously if you want to be able to move around. It all comes down to how much precautions you take. If by any chance you are careless about it then chance of you getting infected rises. So, no matter how tedious it may feel take precautions and take care of yourself.
- Seek help – It is ok, to not feel ok about stepping out. There are chance you may need help from someone to get you get going. You may try cognitive behavioral therapy or speak to a friend. Whatever makes you comfortable start there and gradually step up.
Your mental health matters, what goes in your mind will have an effect on your actions and reactions. You may feel scared to step out right now, however, with a little change each day soon you will be mentally prepared to step out. It may be scarier but this would be the first step to getting back to ‘normal’.