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Social Anxiety Post Pandemic

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is a long term fear of being in social situations. Instead of being comfortable being with groups of people, sufferers feel very anxious and worried. Even thinking about putting themselves in a group situation can bring on symptoms of panic and anxiety. That inner voice pops up asking, “What will they think of me? Will they like me? Will they accept me?”. Those thoughts act like a magnet and more of those negative musings join in.

The Pandemic Hits

Then in March 2020 the unthinkable happens. We have to stay at home and isolate from anyone in another household. For many people this was in itself unbearable. After all, we are social beings aren’t we? But what about for those who have social anxiety? Suddenly there is no need to put themselves in those stressful situations. No more excuses need to be given for why you can’t make the get together tonight, or the barbeque next weekend. Even work stresses fall away with office meetings taking place from afar.

So What Has Happened to Those Anxious Thoughts and Feelings?

For many people it’s such good news that we can now start to socialise once more, albeit in a limited and socially distanced way. But for someone with social anxiety, who has had a break from those unpleasant thoughts and feelings for over a year, how does this affect them? Have those feelings come back just as they were before the pandemic or have they now intensified? Has staying at home for that length of time made social interaction even more scary?

What Can You do to Help Yourself if This is You?

First of all, remind yourself that you don’t have to bounce back to normal all at once. You still have some choice over things you attend and things you don’t. Secondly, its perfectly alright to tell people how you feel. Over the course of the last year or so mental health has been spotlighted more and more. Many people understand both anxiety and depression much more now. Tell a friend, a family member or a health professional how you are feeling.

You can take steps to start to control the anxiety. Look into meditation and relaxation techniques. Start with some simple breathing exercises you can use when you feel anxious and stressed. Breath in for the count of 3 and out for the count of 6. Every time your mind tries to stray from the counting just gently bring it back. Think of a calm colour and imagine breathing this colour in. As you fill yourself up with the colour of calm you relax.

Finally, give me a call or send me an email. I have been busy developing a programme of sessions to help you work through these anxieties. There has never been a better time to make a fresh start and allow yourself to enjoy life to the full.

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