After being in quarantine for what now feels like 10 years, can we ever go back to our old normal selves?
From going out without a worry to being asked to wear masks and stay home, our lives have been turned upside down since COVID-19 hit all over the world. And now, after more than a year of Zoom meetings and virtual celebrations and dates, is it normal to feel socially anxious to be around others, even to meet up with our closest friends?
Social anxiety is specific to situations dealing with other people. According to an article Bustle, “If the thought of small talk, meeting strangers, big groups of people giving you attention, or being judged by those around you makes you uncomfortable to the point it’s impacting your ability to be in social situations, you could be dealing with social anxiety.”
It’s not difficult to see why people would feel more worried and anxious, with recent news of different variants entering the country. “The uncertainty of post-pandemic life can be a substantial source of stress and anxiety; we have no idea what life will look like when the pandemic is over—whenever that day will be.” Says Dr. Carla Manly, a clinical psychologist in an interview for Well+Good, a wellness website. In the same article, Meghan Watson, a psychotherapist, also said “introverts and extroverts alike who have spent most of the past year in isolation are out of practice with in-person socializing, which may lead to newfound or exacerbated social anxiety.”
If you’re experiencing some quarantine-induced social anxiety, here are things you can do to ease it:
Accept What You’re Feeling and Take It Slow
As they say, the first step to healing is acceptance. While this feeling may be new to you, it is totally normal to be feeling this way given the situation we are currently facing. Accept that you may be experiencing some social anxiety after not interacting with a lot of people for more than a year, but also know that what you feel is normal, and that it is okay. Take things at your own pace and only mingle with others once you’re ready to do so.
Do Things That Relaxes You
Whether its some yoga, meditation, painting, or reading, doing something that relaxes you can help with some anxiety you’re feeling. Even some breathing exercises can help! You can do this daily, weekly, or just whenever you need to let out some anxiety.
Create A Post-Quarantine Bucket List
Having something to look forward to can help shift your perspective. Create a bucket list of things you’re most excited to do once it’s safer to do so. It can be as simple as going to the dentist or finally seeing all of your friends, or something more adventurous like travelling to your dream destination.
Tell Your Family or Friends
Talk to someone close to you and someone you really trust. Telling a friend or a family member what you’re feeling may help ease some pressure about meeting up with other people or going out. Also, they might be feeling the same thing.
Seek Professional Help If You Need To
If you’ve been thinking of talking to a professional, then this may be the right time to do so. There are a lot of mental health organisations like National Center for Mental Health or Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc. that you can contact for help.
If you or someone you know is experiencing anxiety, or any other mental health illness, you can reach National Center for Mental Health at 0917-899-8727; 0966-351-4518; 0908-639-2672 or their website. You can also reach Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc. at 0995-093-2679 or their website.