Social anxiety is something we all experienced in different scales. The change from having a highly social work and personal life to nothing at all can be really detrimental to a person’s mental health, and may cause many people who are normally extroverted to feel like they are becoming introverted and not wanting to mix with others
Yes, you can enjoy socializing again. But it might take a little effort.
Humans are creatures of habit, and the lockdowns have persisted long enough for people to become comfortable with and accustomed to their lockdown daily routines – even those parts they don’t like. Reinventing a new daily routine takes effort, as it requires overriding our current habits and inertia.
Social anxiety coping tips
Ease back into it
Start by connecting with those in your closest inner circle. When you’re ready, reaching out to people you enjoy being with but may feel nervous around and need warming up to. Eventually, expand your circle to include people and situations that make you anxious.
The idea is to give yourself a little taste of something that makes you anxious and then wait for the anxiety to calm down. Then increase your exposure a little more and wait for the anxiety to come down.
Visualize your friend when you see them and what you will say. It may be awkward at first, especially as we are not able to hug or touch friends, but you will soon adapt to the new way of greeting a loved one
Remember, no one has ever been through anything like this in the modern world, so no one really knows how to do it ‘right.’ Even the experts don’t have all the answers, so it’s normal to have your own uncertainties and doubts.
You may feel slightly embarrassed about these feelings, especially if you are usually the life and soul of the party, but there’s no shame in feeling slightly overwhelmed by the changes, especially after so much time spent alone. I can guarantee that at least one of will be going through the same thing and will be glad and relieved that you have spoken about it.
Your attention is a spotlight and you get to choose where to point it. So rather than focusing on your own performance and aspiring to be the perfect mix of hilarious, beautiful and brilliant, or needing to report how you’ve made the best use of quarantine, consider truly paying attention to who you’re with.
Learning to see your assumptions for what they are, just thoughts, also allows you to feel less lonely. In researching ways to treat loneliness, Dr. Christopher Masi and his colleagues at the University of Chicago found that reducing your own negative social judgments is the most powerful way to reduce feelings of uncomfortable aloneness. Socializing is no fun if you’re feeling critical of yourself or who you’re with.
If you’ve tried all you can to assimilate back into some form of socializing but anxiety and panic are interfering with your ability to do so, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional.
At the Oxford Spires Hypnotherapy, hypnotherapy in Oxford to overcome social anxiety after lockdown can be effective in restoring your confidence, enabling you to feel much calmer and in control. During therapeutic intervention with hypnosis, tracing the triggers related to your stress reaction can be the first step in addressing your fears.
While some people may require longer to readjust post-lockdown than others, there’s support available to help people return to their pre-lockdown lives and enjoy the freedoms that go along with it.