The UK Government recently announced a roadmap for when restrictions would be eased. Smaller gatherings will be allowed outside from 29th of March in England, and while for many people it’s a really exciting time, for those with social anxiety there’s a worry about how they’ll adapt to life after lockdown.
What is social anxiety disorder?
Social anxiety disorder is a fear of social situations and includes worrying about meeting strangers, how to act with groups of friends/family and generally feeling self-conscious. It can make everyday life extremely difficult and can manifest physically by causing sweating, palpitations or even panic attacks.
Life returning to normal
Preparing for ‘normal’ life again is about learning how to redirect your energy from what you are used to now. Instead of being stressed about all of the outcomes of a social situation, instead think about what you can do to feel more at ease. Worrying doesn’t solve any problems. For some, the roadmap out of lockdown has made social anxiety sufferers feel more anxious. Many people have become accustomed to being in their comfort zone and being more alone and independent, which means their anxiety has remained unchallenged for much of the time in lockdown.
Set a new target –
This could be a big project like learning a new language, or something as small as trying out a different recipe. If big ideas are too much, start small. The point is that if it’s outside your comfort zone, and it’s pushing you forward, it gives you a focus and a sense of control.
What are the mental health challenges, and what can we do?
Control what can be controlled. There are a lot of things you can’t control that cause you fear and anxiety, but there are some things you can manage or plan for. Having an action plan for managing things you might find difficult can help. Recognising that you need to go at the right pace for you is important and not letting others pressure you into doing things you don’t want to. Try not to let that be an excuse not to push yourself, especially when it comes to reconnecting with friends safely, outside your home, when rules allow and also when the time is right for you. It’s important to discuss concerns with those close to you, but also to allow other people space to move at their own pace.
Focusing on the present, you can only do your best with what you have today. With regulations changing frequently, and lots of conflicting media discussions, try and keep a focus on the moment. Mindfulness meditation is one way of bringing your mind back to the present moment.
At The Eaves, we have a variety of trained professionals for all ages that can offer support for those who are feeling anxious about returning to normal life. Please contact the referrals team on 01483 917000 who will be happy to help source a suitable therapist for you. You can also send us an enquiry. Click here to find out more.