A Long Time Of Physical Distancing
It’s been a very long year and half. Lockdowns and physical distancing have had a profound impact on our health and well-being. Thankfully though, as the vaccines roll out and Manitoba, Canada, and our world begins to slowly open up again, we are beginning to return to some kind of, albeit new, normal.
Anxiety About Socializing
The recent news about Manitoba opening up and lifting many of the current restrictions is the biggest step towards reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, while many people are jumping for joy with the idea of taking part in normal social gatherings and getting back to a version of pre-pandemic life and activities, others are feeling significant social anxiety at the same time. This is completely understandable as this shift comes with many changes that go well beyond the practicalities of being able to shop, travel… again.
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 if you attempt to skate like you once did. Similarly, socializing requires a set 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 or more has put a kink into these important skills for many of us.
Here are some tips for dealing with any social anxiety you may be experiencing:
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 afterwards. 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 slowly. Don’t suddenly fill your social calendar with all kinds of activities and events. Step-by-step ways to get started include:
- Start small, perhaps with a short visit at first
- Hang out with one or two close friends
- Attend a small gathering
- Depending on what your social life was like before COVID, take small steps towards your desired goals for your social life moving forward
Stick with Your Own Comfort Level
Some people may be feeling anxiety right now because they are unsure of how safe it is to be out in the world. I believe if we’re completely honest, we’ve all been a bit confused at times on what the rules are; i.e. the talking heads on TV seem to give us mixed signals about what’s going on and where things are going. While this is completely understandable—our leaders are after all also trying to figure this out on the fly—it has been confusing at times. However, what you can do is set your own boundaries and determine what YOU feel comfortable with. If you’re not comfortable giving or receiving hugs, don’t feel pressured by someone else. Respect your own boundaries and comfort level and take things step-by-step, day-by-day.
Be Kind to Yourself
Many will find it absolutely exhausting trying to relearn all the social skills they haven’t practised in some time. And that’s okay. Know that you’re not the only one who is struggling right now. Just be kind and gentle with yourself.
Speak with Someone
If you find your anxiety isn’t dissipating after some time, you may want to speak with a Winnipeg Counsellor. They 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.
We would love to hear from you even if you’re not ready to make a commitment to an appointment. Feel free to call or email us today to request a FREE 15-minute phone or video consultation.