The COVID-19 pandemic situation has vastly improved, and many people are eagerly resuming their routines. However, it is important to realize some people may have difficulty returning to their schedules. Social anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder that is classified by an intense and persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other daily activities. A person living with social anxiety disorder may feel anxious or fearful in many social situations such as meeting new people, attending a job interview, ordering at a restaurant, or making a doctor’s appointment. Performing everyday activities in front of people, such as eating or drinking, causes anxiety. Currently, there may be increased incidences of social anxiety disorder because of the effects of the pandemic.
If you are having a hard time adjusting to life post COVID-19, here are some tips at getting back into routine. Please remember, this list is not all-inclusive, but it can help you find coping mechanisms that work best for you.
10 Helpful Tips:
- You do not have to say yes to every social invite. We do not need to use the pandemic as an excuse for not doing something we do not want to do.
- Remember that other people may also be having a hard time; even if they do not express it; you are not alone.
- If you are transitioning from remote work to being back in the office, try to be conscious of how you are feeling about this adjustment. You can be conscious about your feelings by keeping a journal.
- Be kind to yourself. You have just survived a pandemic!
- It is ok to not jump back into everything all at once and right away. Take small steps.
- Remember that it is possible to be grateful the pandemic is ending AND feel bittersweet you must resume all your exhaustive activities, such as a lengthy commute. Both sentiments can coexist.
- If you are feeling highly distressed or overwhelmed with socialization, take time to reflect on how you felt before, during, and after the pandemic.
- Did you miss preventive or routine physical health screenings in the past year? Make those appointments today. Physical and mental health go hand in hand.
- You can reunite with one friend at a time; try to get away from all-or-nothing thought processes. All-or-nothing thinking is a cognitive distortion.
- Do not let other people’s urgency be your emergency. Naturally, everyone is rushing to get back to how things were prior to the pandemic. You can take your time.
Adjusting to life after the pandemic can be stressful, but following these tips can help. If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about topics such as the one featured in this blog, and are in the Chicago area, please contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.
Written by Liz, Mental Health Counseling Master’s Level Intern
References: American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596