Post-Lockdown Anxiety, is it affecting you?
Do you need a helping hand to deal with the panic around life returning to normal post pandemic?
Social Anxiety and Coming out of Lockdown
As the Coronavirus restrictions begin to ease, many of us are excited about getting back to normal and being able to mix and socialise again. But for many, the thought of things opening up again can cause anxiety and actually create a heightened state of panic. Social anxiety is where you have an overwhelming fear of social situations like meeting or speaking to people. If you are experiencing social anxiety, you may have trouble talking to people, meeting new people, or attending social gatherings. You might fear being judged or scrutinized by others.
When you think about it, it’s hardly surprising that people are suffering from social anxiety. We’ve spent months longing to be able to go out. Perhaps for a drink, or to meet up with family and friends. Or maybe to listen again to live music and go to the theatre. Or simply to lounge on a friend’s sofa and have a natter.
So why is it, that now this is once again within our grasp, we suddenly feel nervous about being part of a big group or making small talk?
What if you want to go back to your old self, but that old life now feels new and a bit intimidating? Maybe you feel out of practise with mixing with people? Or perhaps it feels like tempting fate to make plans, in case that freedom is taken away again. The truth is that any change, even for the better, naturally makes you feel anxious.
We can all relate to social anxiety in some way. Perhaps nervousness around meeting someone new, or walking into a room full of strangers. With the opening up of restrictions, you could experience nerves around coming out of the pandemic looking good enough, whether your friends will want to see you, or whether you’ve achieved enough during the lockdown.
And this leads to more negative thoughts, which in turn leads to more anxiety.
In addition, for many sufferers of social anxiety, throughout the lockdown periods, they have not had to confront their anxiety in any way. Because they’ve been able to stay at home and isolated, and in their own comfort zone.
With the opening up of restrictions, these very real social anxieties are back in the forefront of people’s minds. Some may even have found their symptoms have ramped up recently; others might be feeling this for the first time. Many people have reported their confidence has taken a battering during the lockdowns.
All socially anxious people have different reasons for dreading certain situations. You can experience symptoms such as getting anxious immediately before an event. Or you might spend weeks worrying about it, then afterwards you could spend a lot of time and mental energy worrying about how you acted.
Anxiety about Change is Normal
Anxiety is a normal emotion that we all experience. If you experience anxiety, you might feel stressed, tense, worried, uneasy, or scared.
Many people spend a great deal of time and energy trying to avoid change, but it will inevitably catch up to them. Sometimes we know a change will occur, while other times it comes suddenly and unexpectedly. Maybe it’s a disappointment, or maybe it’s a wonderful surprise.
Learning to cope with change can help you lower your risk for anxiety and depression. Your relationships will flourish, and your body will feel healthier. But if you can’t cope with change, only a minor amount of stress can make you feel overwhelmed by life. You might also struggle to set and meet the goals you have for yourself.
The good news is that there is a lot you can do to prepare for change and cope with life after lockdown and reduce post-lockdown anxiety. Watch my video below for tips on reducing your anxiety about going out after lockdown.
Reducing Post-Lockdown and Social Anxiety
Feelings of social anxiety can be mitigated by the following:
- Be conscious of the “worry story” you tell yourself – and try to distance yourself from it;
- Recognise and dump the negative thoughts, replace them with a positive ones;
- Write down the good things, the things you are looking forward to;
- Spend at least one hour per day doing something that makes you feel good.
- Download my free recording, which is designed to help you apply the best mindful strategies to your own personal situation. You can then focus on building your own inner confidence and self-esteem in social situations.
My Free Recording Can Help
I have spent years helping people to cope with and reduce their social anxiety. The techniques I teach my clients, whatever the trigger for their condition, can also be applied successfully in this current pandemic to help with post-lockdown anxiety.
I’d encourage anyone who is feeling stressed or anxious, to download my free session and see if it helps. The 20-minute English-language audio recording can be accessed from any computer or device. It simply requires you to be settled in a safe, quiet space, where you can fully engage with my soothing words.
Even just taking 20 minutes out of your day to focus on yourself, rather than the latest virus news update, can help you regain a sense of balance and focus. It’s all about relaxing your mind, deflecting the negative thoughts, and replacing them with calm, positive ones.
Scheduling a ‘worry window’, so you can better manage any negative thoughts and feelings by containing them in a predetermined time slot. Doing this then frees up the rest of their day by banishing intrusive thoughts.
To some degree, it’s natural to worry, and we all do it. It’s how our brain handles problems or potential problems. But it stops being useful if we become stuck in a cycle of negative thoughts. We should instead focus on those things within our control, and how we choose to respond to them.
This pandemic has had many repercussions beyond the actual virus. One is the potential impact on mental health and wellbeing. If I can help ease that stress in just a small way, I believe it’s worthwhile trying.