As everything is starting to open back up it can feel liberating. You may have already started filling up your calendar with events you want to attend, social gathering with friends and family, places you want to see, etc. As you see your calendar filling up, you may feel a bit anxious as you try to fit in the “new normal.”
Jumping back into a social routine with so many things still unknown poses feelings of uncertainty and fear.
You may find yourself wondering if you will ever be able to hug your colleagues and friends without putting anyone at risk. Will you ever feel safe again without having to wear a mask?
Will you ever be able to travel without having to go through so many different checkpoints and safety measures at airports. What will weddings and celebrations look like in the future?
Going from one end of the spectrum of having a highly present in-person social life to the opposite side of the spectrum where everything is suddenly virtual can be detrimental to your overall well-being.
This can cause people who are normally outgoing to become physically withdrawn. Certainly, jumping back into a social routine after quarantining can pose its own set of anxiety, so what do you do?
Today I am going to talk about 5 simple tips that are proven to put your anxiety at ease as you start to be more social.
Tip #1: Accept your feelings
It is ok to feel anxious and scared as you are faced with uncertainty.
Allow yourself to feel anxious and scared as you navigate the “new normal.” Let yourself feel these feelings and accept them with compassion so you can outgrow them. keep in mind that the entire world is coming out of this pandemic and it is not something that we face every day.
With all the uncertainties, no one truly knows the right way because it is still being figured out.
So here you are practicing social distancing and partaking in safety measures set by state and country guidelines, but you still feel anxious and scared.
Know that it is a normal reaction to feel that way, you are allowed to have your own reactions about the situation. Instead of trying to fight your feelings or simply letting them control your decisions, understand they are a part of you and not all of you. Which brings me to tip #2.
Tip #2: Take it easy
As you start to venture out into the world, be mindful of not overdoing it as that can be risky. Practice gradual exposure to mitigate your fears and anxieties.
What that means is give yourself the chance to do something small that may trigger little feelings of anxiety, then give yourself the time to let that anxiety settle. The idea here is not to put yourself at shock by doing everything at once, but rather take baby steps to go through the experience in small doses.
After a few times, you will see that your feelings of anxiety have lessened or completely vanished.
By exposing yourself gradually, you are putting yourself in situations where they become familiar. The more familiar they become, the fewer feelings of anxiety and fear you will experience.
For example, think about the last time you went to the pool. Did you jump in or did you slowly get into the pool? If you jumped in, you would notice that your body goes through a shock from the cold water. If you slowly get into the pool you do not have the same experience.
First, you put your feet in and you feel the cold water, so you stop until it settles and you no longer feel the coldness. Then you gradually put your body in, first you feel the water is a bit cold, maybe not as cold as the first time, then you adapt to it and it no longer feels cold.
The more you get into the water, the less cold it feels each time. You continue to do this until you are completely in the water and your body has adjusted to the temperature.
It is important to move at your own pace without letting your fears and anxieties hold you back from moving. Know that your feelings of fear and anxieties are a form of feedback.
They are there to guide you in keeping a steady pace that works for you so you do not end up harming yourself.
Tip #3: Challenge your negative thinking patterns
Negative thinking fuels negative feelings.
Think about it. When you imagine an anxiety-provoking situation, you find yourself thinking of all the bad things that can go wrong. Ultimately, these thoughts incite anxiety.
The more negative thoughts you choose to believe are true the more your feelings of anxiety will grow. Eventually, you find yourself in isolation not wanting to participate or do anything.
The next time you find yourself caught up with a negative thought, do not believe it just yet, challenge your auto-thinking by replacing the negative thought with a positive one.
Tip #4: Practice self-care
Allow yourself time to decompress and process your emotions by doing things that are relaxing and promote emotional and mental wellness.
For example, practice deep breathing, journaling, take a bath, share your feelings with those who are closest to you, go for a walk, do the things that calm you, and boost your good moods.
Doing these things stimulate and invigorate feeling good.
Let me put it simply, just like exercise is important for your physical health, self-care is important for your mental and emotional health.
Exercise helps you build muscles which make you stronger and more physically equipped. Likewise, self-care helps you build emotional and mental strength to overcome any obstacle that comes your way.
Tip #5: Ask for professional help
If you feel like you are unable to assimilate back into the “new normal” world alone, you may want to consider seeking support from a mental health counselor.
There is no shame in asking for help from a licensed professional who can assist you in exploring your feelings and support you throughout your journey.
We are in the “new normal” together, mental health counselors are available at Naya Clinics to inspire you to become the best version of yourself.
About Sam Nabil
Sam was featured in many prestigious publications. Check out his interview with Aljazeera English
Book our online counseling and coaching services here: Nayaclinics.com/book-online