Make no mistake about it, the pandemic is still a thing that exists at the end of 2021 and moving into 2022. It hasn’t completely gone away, but it isn’t taking as big of a stranglehold on our lives as it did a year ago. Rewind to winter 2020 and we were all locked in and couldn’t go anywhere. Now, things are slowly opening up, international travel is back on, and you’re allowed to go and see your friends.
For a lot of us, the transition back to normality began when we went back to school after many months away. That was a bit weird, and you may have had mixed feelings about it. For sure, a lot of young people started suffering from anxiety at the prospect of being thrown into social situations after so much time away. You get a sense of paranoia about the pandemic whenever you’re out, worrying that you’ll catch COVID from someone and pass it on to everyone you love.
Today, we’re going to talk about a few tips and ideas to help you cope with this newfound social anxiety. If you used to be a very outgoing and sociable person, it can feel like your world has turned upside down. Thankfully, there are a few things you can do to still be sociable without having the same level of anxiety.
Continue having video calls
Throughout the pandemic, many of us had video calls all the time with our friends. It’s a great way of staying connected without physically being next to one another. If you’re still worried about the virus – particularly over the festive period – video calls can still be super effective. As luck would have it, people with Macbooks can enjoy a new feature from the Monterey update that lets you share your screen while on Facetime. While there have been many well-documented Monterey issues, this is a feature that’s great over the holidays. It means you can have group video calls while all watching a movie or series together. You get the social element without worrying about catching the virus and ruining your Christmas!
Keep wearing a mask
If you do go out, and you should try to get some fresh air and be sociable while you’re allowed, then you can feel better by wearing your mask. Just because everyone else isn’t wearing one doesn’t mean you can’t. It makes you feel safe and secure, helping you see friends and enjoy a touch of normality with minimal stress and anxiety.
Stay away from large crowds
Another way to cope with your post-pandemic anxiety is to almost ease yourself back into social situations. Part of this starts with continuing your video calls, but it extends to the idea of only meeting in small groups. Hang out with a couple of friends at one of your houses or at a coffee shop somewhere. Go to the park or spend a lot of time outdoors as a small group. Avoid being around large groups of people and crowds wherever possible. I find this sets off a lot of anxiety as you see so many people and get stressed or worried about the virus. If you spend more time in spacious places with small groups of people, you slowly get used to the idea of being around others again.
It’s such a unique situation to be in as none of us have ever experienced it before. However, social anxiety is real during this pandemic, but these three tips can help you cope with it.