Some people are really excited at the thought of the COVID restrictions being lifted, they can’t wait to get back to meeting people and socialising whether that be at work, down the pub or family get together. But for other, the mere thought of going back out into the world and having to socialise with others, strikes fear and panic into them.
Social anxiety makes you feel awkward and far from norm at the best of times, let alone after a pandemic, and having had the security blanket of lockdown wrapped around them for almost a year. It’s no wonder they feel like the security blanket is being ripped away from them now, creating anxiety and worry.
We can all relate to social anxiety in some way, perhaps nervousness around meeting someone new, or walking into a room full of strangers, and with the opening up of restrictions you could experience nerves around coming out of the pandemic looking good enough, whether your friends will want to see you, or whether you’ve achieved enough during lockdown
And this leads to more negative thoughts, which in turn leads to more anxiety.
For many sufferers of social anxiety throughout the lockdown periods, they have not had to confront their anxiety in anyway, they’ve been able to stay at home and isolated, and in their own comfort zone. With the opening up of restrictions these very real social anxieties are back in the forefront of peoples minds, and some will have found their symptoms have ramped up recently; others might be feeling this for the first time. Many people have reported their confidence has taken a battering during lockdowns.
All socially anxious people have different reasons for dreading certain situations, you can experience symptoms and getting anxious immediately before an event, or you might spend weeks worrying about it, then afterwards you could spend a lot of time and mental energy worrying about how you acted.
Feelings of social anxiety can be mitigated by the following:
Be conscious of the “worry story” you tell yourself - and try to distance yourself from it;
Recognise and dump the negative thoughts, replace them with a positive one
Write down the good things, the things you are looking forward to
Spend at least one hour per day doing something that makes you feel good
Create a ‘worry window’, so you can better manage any negative thoughts and feelings by containing them in a predetermined time slot, and free up the rest of your day by banishing intrusive thoughts.
I have spent years helping people to cope with and reduce their social anxiety. The techniques I teach my clients, whatever the trigger for their condition, can also be applied successfully in this current pandemic. I’d encourage anyone who is feeling stressed or anxious, to download my complimentary session and see if it helps.
The 15-minute English-language audio recording can be accessed from any computer or device, and simply requires the listener to be settled in a safe, quiet space, where they can fully engage with the soothing words.
Even just taking 15 minutes out of your day to focus on yourself, rather than the latest virus news update, can help you regain a sense of balance and focus. It’s all about relaxing your mind, deflecting the negative thoughts, and replacing them with calm, positive ones.