Tips for navigating social anxiety as the country opens up
Posted: May 27, 2021
Now that many of the COVID restrictions have lifted across many states, many of us are all too ready to get back out there. For those of us who have been vaccinated, we find that we don’t even need our masks anymore in many public places, and number capacities have increased. So, with social distancing and masks soon becoming a thing of the past, how can we help people who may be struggling with these sometime confusing changes feel more comfortable getting back out there?
- Start slowly- just because your friends and family may be trashing the mask, doesn’t mean you feel ready quite yet. It’s important to remember that just like it took some time getting used to wearing a mask and distancing when we first started this, it will take time getting used to going back to the way things were before the pandemic started. Be patient with yourself.
- If you have not already, try and do outdoor things first. Just because your favorite gym has dropped all restrictions and your best friend is begging you to go and work out with them doesn’t mean you’re ready to. Maybe right now you’re more comfortable trying an outdoor class where people are not wearing masks. Many local gyms are still offering outdoor options to get fit.
- Social gatherings- you might not be ready to have people over your home or go to their homes quite yet. Schedule an outing at a restaurant with just a few people and eat outdoors or invite people over for a cook out if you have outdoor space.
- Unmasking- try not wearing your mask in a few places (for vaccinated folks) for a short amount of time and see how you feel. If you can tolerate it and don’t feel anxious increase the amount of maskless time each time you are out.
- Most importantly, do what feels right for you, but do try and challenge yourself in a way that feels safe. It is important to practice getting out of your comfort zone a little at a time to make changes within in yourself and to break the anxiety cycle!
KEEP IT SIMPLE. PRACTICE DOING ONE THING A DAY THAT MAKES YOU SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE.