Coping with post-Covid social anxiety

It's natural to feel a little anxious about getting back out there, but it's a good idea to have some helpful coping mechanisms in place if you're feeling overwhelmed.

While many will feel great joy and relief about the easing of lockdown restrictions, others may be experiencing less positive feelings. Some will be panicking about social situations, particularly if they have been in strict lockdown for the best part of a year. If you’re feeling anxious, the following tips might just help.

Don’t push yourself too hard

You don’t have to head back into normal life at full pelt. Give yourself time to adjust to this new season and don’t put any undue pressure on yourself to socialise more than feels comfortable. Just as it took time to adapt to lockdown life, it’ll take time to get back into the swing of going places and meeting people.

Prepare well

Often we feel most anxious when it feels as though we’re stepping out into the unknown. If that’s you, do your best to prepare in advance. Find out about the venue and who is going to be there. Ask about the dress code or anything you need to bring. How will you get there? Is there parking? If you’re anxious about making conversation, think of some potential talking points in advance so you have something up your sleeve.

Look after your physical and mental well-being

With new doors opening, it can be easy to lose track of the basic facets of life, such as eating and sleeping well, exercising, staying hydrated and concentrating on your mental health. Your routine may need to change, but try to establish new and positive habits where possible. Don’t be tempted to overdo it or you may run the risk of burnout.

Enjoy the positives of post-lockdown life

Even if social situations are stressful, there are likely to be aspects of post-lockdown life that really appeal. It may be travelling further to take an early walk on the beach, visiting an elderly relative in a care home or getting back to the office rather than working from home. Try to enjoy the positives as well as focusing on the elements that seem stressful.

Find healthy ways to relax

It’s really important that you have healthy outlets for your anxiety. This might be something as simple as a relaxing bath with a book or a session where you indulge a favourite hobby, such as DIY, gardening, crafting, making music, running or baking. If you feel up to it, invite a friend to join you in your relaxing pursuit. This can make it more fun and help you adjust to socialising on a small scale before you really get back out there.

Get the facts

If you’re anxious about contracting Covid while you’re out and about, it’s really important that you’re aware of the risks and the latest government guidelines. Use reliable sources to ensure that you are well informed and can protect yourself without staying locked up for the rest of your life.

Talk to people you trust

Anxiety is nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re struggling, talk to someone you trust. It could be a friend, a church leader, a medical professional or a helpline. It can be really helpful to have some support and know you’re not facing this alone. Talk to God about your feelings and ask others to pray for you if you feel able to confide in those around you.