Adapting to a Post-Pandemic World

Since the beginning of 2020, whenever we turned on the TV, listened to the radio, browsed social media, or even while speaking with our friends and co-workers we have been bombarded with COVID-19 information. Numbers of infected, numbers of deaths around the world, constantly changing restrictions, and more have flooded our minds daily. The once normal social activities we enjoyed participating in were now considered unsafe and many of us were also required to work from home or lost our jobs completely.

A new collective experience of social anxiety has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you suffered from social anxiety before or you’ve slowly developed social anxiety since being isolated and distanced from others, returning to post-pandemic “normal” life can seem more daunting than the onset of the pandemic itself.

You are not alone in your concerns. Studies show that symptoms of social anxiety have increased significantly since 2020. The good news is, there are natural and effective ways to manage and cope with anxiety that will allow you to make a smoother, at-ease transition back into society.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety

To manage and cope with anxiety you must first understand the symptoms associated with it. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, consult your healthcare provider or physician for clarification.

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, the signs and symptoms of can anxiety include:

● Feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge

● Having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom

● Having an increased heart rate

● Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating, and/or trembling

● Feeling weak or tired

● Difficulty concentrating

● Having trouble sleeping

● Experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems

Over the last year, social anxiety has been front-row-and-center as we have trained our brains to perceive people themselves as a threat due to the risk of contracting the virus. Fear of going outdoors, interacting with strangers and even fear of the air we breathe in proximity to others has been a concern for many!

As more and more have either already contracted the virus and built up an immunity to it or have become vaccinated, the threat ratio has lowered, however, our brain may not recognize the change and continue to ignite our fight or flight response.

Get Ready to Face Society Once Again

Before the pandemic, you may not have had to deal with anxiety and fear of social settings as you are now. You may also be feeling the pressure from work responsibilities, friends, and/or family to return to your normal routines.

If the idea of re-engaging with society is causing you worry, here are some tips to help:

● Get outside of the house every day. Go for a walk, go to the pharmacy, do the groceries rather than store pick up.

● If your workplace will soon require you to return back to the office, head to your place of work and walk around to regain that comfort and routine. The same goes for those attending college/university or children who attend school and fear going back to the classroom.

● Start socializing with others on the phone, video calls and gradually return to seeing them in person one at a time when you can.

Start off slow, and steadily work towards the more challenging activities until you can feel comfortable engaging with others in society again.

Coping Strategies to Help Reduce Anxiety