How to Cope With Anxiety About Life After a Pandemic
Do you remember the last time you stepped in somewhere without wearing a mask? What about the last time you were in the office? It’s likely been a while. And maybe you’re having growing concerns about that post-pandemic anxiety.
There will be change all over again, and some of us might not feel ready for it.
Surprisingly, an astonishing 50% of people are anxious about post-pandemic life. You aren’t alone in your fears, worries, and anxiety. And post-pandemic social anxiety is absolutely going to be a hurdle that many of us will have to overcome.
When was the last time you were in a room with mostly strangers? Again, it’s likely been a while!
So, how can you deal with post-covid stress disorder? How long will this pandemic anxiety last? In this article, we answer all of these questions and more.
Post-Pandemic Social Anxiety: How You Can Deal
You’ve probably been trying to figure out how to calm anxiety with the covid pandemic for over a year now (haven’t we all!). At first, it was terrifying even to leave the house.
How contagious is this thing? Will I catch it by simply touching something someone else has? These thoughts were all too real.
Now, it’s looking like the re-opening of the world is starting to happen.
Restrictions are easing in some, not all, places. So we’re starting to think about getting back to a new “normal,” whatever that may look like. And the fact that we don’t even know what that looks like can bring about a whole other side of anxiety altogether.
But let’s focus on what you can do to help yourself move forward with your life and not let this pandemic continue to be a dark cloud over your future.
1. Embrace Saying “No”
Social anxiety can arise from serious overcommitment. And when we haven’t seen friends or anyone in weeks, months, or a year, a little bit can feel like a lot!
Get comfy with saying “no.”
It’s okay to start out by seeing only one friend for a little bit and gradually building from there. It’s okay to feel like you need more alone time than you were used to pre-pandemic. And it’s okay to show yourself some compassion and go easy on yourself.
It’s been one heck of a year!
2. But Make Those Connections!
While saying no is great and can help you set limits, don’t continue to isolate yourself. I know this may seem like the easy option, but you might be setting yourself up for prolonged post-pandemic mental health problems, like depression, ongoing anxiety, and more.
So, make some plans, just not too many.
Connect with those closest to you, such as best friends or close family members. Stick with the people you truly trust and know you will understand you when you bring up how you feel. Plus, talking about these issues with someone you trust can help you break through them and feel less alone.
3. Stick to a Regular Sleep Schedule
I see you over there going, “Okay, mom!” But sleeping is really essential, especially when you’re dealing with anxiety or stress.
Consumer reports indicate that many adults have been staying up way past their bedtimes or, at least, later than normal. I mean, most of us don’t have to get up for work in the morning for that hour-long commute, or we figure we deserve to watch a few more of those Netflix shows because it’s been a tough time. And I get it.
But sleep isn’t debatable. You need it!
Make it a priority to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and night. Your body, health, and anxiety will thank you.
Make sure to read: How to Get Your Sleeping Pattern Back on Track
4. Start Journaling
Journaling can be hard to start (I’ve been there too). But something that stuck with me when I was learning to write out my thoughts on paper was that if you ever don’t know what to write, write “I don’t know what to write.”
Eventually, other thoughts and feelings will start flowing, and this is when the magic of journaling happens!
You’ll dump all your emotions and feelings onto the page. Maybe that’s all you needed, was to let it out. Or perhaps you’ll read it over and start to make sense of it all and process what you’re feeling.
Solutions might even present themselves better, quenching any stress or anxiety you had in the butt!
5. Talk to Someone!
Okay, real talk: I started seeing a therapist during the pandemic.
And I really can’t rave enough about it. Admitting that I could use a little help and actually getting that help has worked wonders for my mental health. Sometimes, yes, it takes a bit to find the right therapist (I got lucky). But after a session or two, you’ll be so glad you did. You’ll likely feel less alone, more confident, and empowered.
We all need this from time to time, even if you don’t have any serious mental health issues.
Take it One Day At a Time
There’s no rush here. When restrictions start to lift, just take everything in stride and at your own pace. Go off how you feel and what you think.
And stay in the know about what’s happening in your city. Keeping your knowledge to your local stomping ground might help take the pressure off and ease your anxiety a bit. I think it’s great to be informed about worldly events, but not to the detriment of your mental health.
Keep this in mind!
Also, don’t worry if things seem overly scary right now. Most things in life are temporary and this, too, will pass.
Related article: How I’m Living With Anxiety During a World Pandemic