The return to normal life after the pandemic may feel challenging for people who experience social anxiety. With lots of places are opening back after lockdown, a lot of people are enjoying again the life to a ‘new normal’. Social anxiety isn’t just about being a bit uncomfortable or nervous around others. It is a mental and physical battle.
Common signs of anxiety:
- Excessive sweating
- Stuttering when trying to speak
These symptoms are often noticeable from the outside but for the person experiencing, it could be all they think about. Besides, you may also worry that you will do or say the wrong things and end up publicly embarrassed and humiliated.
HOW TO MANAGE SOCIAL ANXIETY?
- Challenge your negative thoughts
You can question the facts behind your assumptions and thoughts. Instead of thinking that a certain person hates you, try to think that they have been nice to you.
2. Distract yourself
Immerse yourself in memory and try to think of something that makes you feel good. Try and remember as many details as you can and how you felt at that moment. Try also telling yourself that there is no use dwelling on negative thoughts. You can do it by reading a book, listening to music, or practicing mindfulness and meditation.
3. Delay your thoughts
Have time to think about negative thoughts later. Knowing that you have to deal with it later can help you through the current moment. You can have a firm start and finish time in thinking to assist you to gain control and stop negative thoughts that keep on interfering with your day.
Relaxation techniques and practicing mindfulness can have a great impact on your mindset and ability to cope. Make sure to use your whole diaphragm when you take deep and evenly spaces breaths. Think about the word relax on your breath out and imagine all your worries flowing out. Relax also your muscles by starting from your toes and focusing on different parts of your body. Tense them and let them completely relax.
5. Practice self-care
Give yourself some time to process your emotions. Do things that promote mental and emotional wellness like exercise. Doing such things stimulate and invigorate feeling good. Exercise is important for your physical health and self-care is important for your mental and emotional health. Exercise helps you build muscle which makes you stronger and more physically equipped. Similarly, self-care helps you build emotional and mental strength to overcome any obstacle that comes your way.
6. Take it easy
As you begin to venture out into the world, be mindful of not overdoing it as that can be risky. Practice slow exposure to lessen your anxieties and fears. The idea is not to put yourself at shock by doing everything at once. By revealing yourself little by little, you are positioning yourself in circumstances where they can be familiar. The fewer feelings of anxiety and fear you will experience if they become more familiar.
If you feel like you are unable to face 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. They will assist you in exploring your feelings and support you throughout your journey.