6 tips for managing social anxiety from Covid-19

As life beings to open up a little more and we embark into the ‘new normal’ many of us are feeling a whole host of emotions, and some of us have developed something we have never felt or experienced before, social anxiety. 

We are living in anxious and stressful times and the longevity of this means we are in a chronic state of stress and anxiety and it’s beginning to take its toll.  Many of us who are usually resilient, strong, positive, and confident are finding days when we don’t feel so strong and confident, or quite as resilient and positive as we usually do.  We are noticing that things are feeling a little more difficult, and that is OK, it is perfectly normal under the circumstances, so I invite you to be kind to yourself.

Social anxiety is something many of us have never experienced before and never expected to experience, but are now noticing that unsettled feeling when leaving the house to go to the shops, or maybe even meet a friend for a coffee…  So many of the things we previously took for granted now feel like high risk activities.  Even the simplest of things, like going for a walk can feel anxious, when someone gets too close, and you aren’t able to social distance, and that makes you feel unsafe.

So what can we do about this?  Especially if you haven’t felt this way before and haven’t got any reference points or tolls you can use?  Here are six things I would suggest:

  1. Be kind to yourself!  None of us know the right way to deal with this, we are all just doing our best and everyone’s best is different for them and their circumstances, and our best changes from day to day, depending on a number of factors.
  1. Take it one step at a time, don’t judge yourself by what others are or aren’t doing, but by what feels right for you. It could mean going for a walk, or going into a shop for the first time, or meeting a friend for a coffee.  Remember to celebrate the little wins, each step forward helps to build more confidence and reduce anxiety.
  1. If you don’t feel safe doing certain activities, but want to try doing more, think about what you would feel more comfortable to do? Would you feel safer to have someone with you?  Or to go somewhere familiar?  To be outside rather than inside?
  1. Consider are which days and times you choose to go. When will it be quieter and feel safer for you.  I know for me, I feel much happier to go when it is a little quieter, when there are less people to navigate.
  1. Remember the only thing we can control is us and how we respond. We cannot ensure that everyone around us will adhere to social distancing, to give you the space you need to feel comfortable.  Trying to control others makes things feel more stressful for us, so we need to think about how we can make it easier for ourselves, where we go, what we do, the precautions we take and so on to make us feel safer.
  1. Breathe! The power of our breath is amazing, taking a few calming deep breaths makes a big of difference to how we feel, try it now… breath deeply in through your nose, hold it, then breath slowly and deeply out through your nose 2 or 3 times and notice how you feel. This also makes wearing a mask much easier!

I help people manage stress and anxiety all of the time, like many others, if you feel that you or someone you know would like some extra support with this right now, please do get in touch or book yourself an introductory session.  I am here to help you manage and overcome these challenges and be happier.

Until next time,