As more people are getting vaccinated and venturing out into the world again, there is, for many, a heightened sense of anxiety.
Here are a few thoughts and questions people are struggling with:
- “I know I can go outside without a mask but it just feels so weird.”
- “I’m worried about socializing again. I’ve spent so much time alone I think I’d feel awkward around people.”
- “Is it too soon to go back into the office?”
- “I’m scared of what the new variant will mean.”
If any of the above resonates for you, you’re far from alone. Recent research from the American Psychological Association (APA) shows that nearly 50% of Americans say they are anxious about resuming in-person interactions once it’s safe to do so.
The good news is that there are several ways to lessen your anxiety.
Here are three tips to help you:
Show yourself a little compassion. Go easy on yourself during this time. Judging and criticizing yourself will only make you feel worse, particularly if you see some people around you diving headfirst into the “after” covid life. Practice making statements like “It’s ok that I feel a little anxious right now. It’s normal. I’m doing the best that I can.”
Dip your toe in the water. While some anxiety is normal right now, watch that you don’t allow it to overtake your life. Slowly re-enter the world. For example, go into the office one day a week instead of three. Or say “yes” to one quarter of the social invitations you get. You can slowly build from there.
Accept a certain amount of awkwardness. It’s important to remember that social skills are like any other activity; they require consistent practice to maintain competency. For most of us, our social skills are going to be a little rusty. It’s ok if at first you make a few social faux pas or feel awkward around others. We’re all in the same boat.