4 Tips on How to Deal with Social Anxiety after COVID.

An anxiety therapist in Castle Rock, Colorado talks about dealing with soical anxiety after COVID.

It has been a very long year. Lockdowns and social distancing have had a profound impact on our hearts and minds. But thankfully, as the vaccines roll out and the country begins to slowly open back up, we are beginning to return to some kind of normal. With Festival Park hosting events such as the Farmers Market and First Friday movies or the MAC Summer Concert Series, there is plenty to get back involved and connect with our great town and community. https://www.crgov.com/calendar.aspx

However, while many people are jumping for joy with the idea of taking part in normal social gatherings and getting back to life pre-pandemic, there are also those individuals who are feeling a bit of social anxiety at the same time. This is to be understood.

Another thing to consider is that not only were we away from our usual community and society, but we all went through a pandemic; a trauma; a collective crisis. We weren’t just isolating because we wanted to. We had tons of information coming at us and frankly had a hard time deciphering what was true and what wasn’t. And we all had to make choices that not everyone in our lives agreed with. Anytime control and choices are taken away, it is hard. And when fear is inserted into that equation, our flight, fight or freeze response takes over. So basically we had a year (plus) of crisis, fear, intense disagreements, unknown, loss of control, health scares, death of loved ones, AND community isolation. All that to say – please have some compassion with yourself if heading back into the upswing of activities this summer is causing you some anxiety.

Being social 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. 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!

Here are some tips our therapists at Authentic Connections Counseling want to share with you in order to start dealing with any social anxiety you may be experiencing:

Be Kind to Yourself

Many will find it absoluttely exhausting trying to relearn all of the social skills they haven’t practiced in some time. It’s okay, you’re not the only one who is struggling right now. Just be kind and gentle with yourself. Watch the subconscious chatter in your head.

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. If we’re honest, the talking heads on TV seem to give us mixed signals about what is really going on. All 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 day by day. You may feel more comfortable talking with someone ahead of time about your boundaries before meeting up with them in person.

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 afterward. 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 slow. Don’t suddenly fill your social calendar with all kinds of activities and events. Start with a small gathering and go from there. It seems like there are a ton of activites now and some of us are wondering… “Did we really live this fast paced before?” It is OK to say “no” and limit yourself to just a few. You don’t have to jump back into them all. Take your time.

Speak with Someone

If you find your anxiety isn’t dissipating after some time, you may want to speak with a counselor. 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 at Authentic Connections Counseling Center here in downtown Castle Rock and we’d be happy to help.

Contact Blair, our intake coordinator today to make an appointment. 720-370-3010 x100 or info@authenticconnectionscounseling.com