Written by Serena Norris – A volunteer at Le Chéile as our new monthly guest blogger and a graduate from St. John Fisher College in Psychology. Serena is currently undergoing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counselling and runs her own online blog. To see her blog click here.
Have you wondered about what life is going to be like after quarantine? Are you worried about adapting back to reality knowing that the COVID is still out there? Well, I’ve got a few tips to help manage your thoughts and adjust back in no time!
To start, I want to open with what social anxiety is and how it can present itself. Social anxiety is having an extreme fear or anxiety to social areas. As places start to open again, the rise of social anxiety is a concern for our mental health. People may fear of getting COVID and choose to stay indoors or fear leaving and coming home to potentially affect their families.
All of these thoughts are valid and have crossed many if not all of our minds. The thing is we need to be able to get out and back into our normal schedules again for our own mental health. I have a couple ways to help as we start to prepare for reality.
The first tip I have is to ease back in at your own pace.
Do not over step your boundaries and allow yourself time to adjust. Reach out to a close friends over the phone and alternate new friends each day so you get a different conversation each day. This is if you are not yet comfortable meeting face to face. When that time comes but you are unsure of leaving your home, invite a friend over to your place. It keeps the space comfortable while allowing a trusting friend to come and see you.
If you would like to start by getting out, ease into it by going for a walk around your neighborhood. You could ask a friend or neighbor to join but remember to follow social distancing precautions. The next thing would be to a plan a date to go to a more public place such as a restaurant or park with a friend. Wear your masks and stay away from others. Restaurants have rules to keep people distanced while dining so you do not need to worry about being too close to others.
I know thus may sound scary for some since home has been all we have known for the past 3 months but it is healthy to get out again and adjust back to normalcy.
The next tip is to allow yourself to be scared.
This may sound odd but it is true. Nothing like this has happened in our modern world so we all have no real “right” way to go about it. I can give tips all I want to help but it truly depends on the individual and how they feel is best for them. This is why it is okay to be scared. Reach out to friends and express your worry, I can guarantee at least one feels the same way and will be grateful you reached out. Make sure to adapt at your own pace and do not feel obligated to go beyond your comfort zone. The time will come when you are ready and you’ll be happy you took the extra time to adjust at your own speed.
My final tip is to use self-care as a reward.
That’s right, anytime you take time to manage your social anxiety, reward yourself! It can be from a buying a new video game, taking a bath with some wine, practicing new makeup and hair styles to even binge watching a new series on Netflix. This may be challenging for those that have families or children but try to plan for 30 minutes one night for your partner to watch the children. Even if it has to be planned, it gives you something to look forward too as that day approaches.
Some helpful links if you would like to learn more on the topic of Social Anxiety:
- HSE- Symptoms, treatments and more
- Aware- Effects and support
- Anxiety Ireland- For all things anxiety
- Spun Out – 8 ways to manage Social Anxiety Disorder
I hope these tips can help as we start to transition back to normalcy. Always remember that help is available if needed. Until next blog, stay healthy, stay positive, and stay mentally strong!