Covid-19 pandemic has shattered the world economy and left an unprecedented impact on physical and mental wellbeing of millions worldwide.
Quarantine and physical isolation has distanced people further away from each other, for some it laid grounds for their introduction to social anxiety whereas for others, it worsened the pre-existing condition.
Let’s explore some common situations where people suffering from social anxiety may find themselves in post pandemic times and shed some light to understand them better.
1. “You have nothing to lose” is not a valid advice for social anxiety
As social distancing restrictions have eased worldwide, you may come across people recommending you to simply “Put yourself out there” “You have nothing to lose” and “what is the worst that can happen”.
Despite sounding like the obvious solution, putting yourself “out there” can be more detrimental than beneficial as for people with social anxiety, one bad experience can intensify anxiety and destroy any self confidence remaining so there is everything to lose.
Therefore, it may be better to not rush yourself into going out, give yourself time to build that confidence gradually and not try to face all your fears at once.
2. Alcohol consumption is a double edged sword
Another common thing to hear is “Sometimes consuming alcohol helps cope up with social anxiety, maybe you should try that”
Honestly, alcohol does help with anxiety, but that’s exactly what makes it dangerous. It can lead you down the slope of addiction as it will help you get over your social inhibitions.
The best thing to do here will be to understand the difference between “having a few drinks to socialize with people” and “depending on alcohol for your anxiety” and save yourself from falling prey to the latter.
3. Looking inwards may not be as helpful as you might think
Public opinion on most mental health conditions is that you should “look inwards” as within your very brain lie all the answers you seek, from the root cause of their deteriorating mental health to its possible solution.
In this manner, it is easy for you to become selfish and get consumed by your own thoughts, constantly giving rise to questions like “Did I do something wrong?” “Am I not funny enough?” “Am I looking good enough?”
Hence, maintaining a more balanced approach of looking inwards through regular analysis of your own thoughts as well as looking outwards by practicing regular acts of kindness towards others goes a long way in helping with social anxiety. The post pandemic situation has presented us with many such opportunities to do something for others.
4. Monitor your tech intake
As much as technology has helped ease communication between humans globally, it can also perpetuate social anxiety.
Our dependence on tech has grown significantly due to Covid-19 as it has presented numerous ways to alleviate possible social embarrassment linked to physically going out and interacting with people, you can now socialize over your phone, use apps to find potential partners at a single swipe of your finger, or online communities where like minded people can interact and discuss series concerns like mental health.
However, despite all its merits, it is easy for someone with social anxiety to say “I don’t need change, I can have all the friends I need over my computer”.
In person connection can often be more fulfilling than those online and yes, online social connections are better than no connections at all. But you need to ask yourself the question “Are you using tech to avoid social interactions altogether or just supplementing your in person interactions with tech”.
As the pandemic is easing out, people with social anxiety are being flooded with thoughts, suggestions and information about going out and facing their worst fears of interacting with people to get comfortable in a social environment.
But a lot of this is misinformation which needs to be analyzed well before being acted upon. As they say, moderation is the key to happiness and should be exercised to maintain a healthy body, mind and soul.
Speak with Someone
If you find your anxiety isn’t dissipating after some time, you may want to speak with a counselor. They can give you the tools to help you get out of your rut and back into a healthy and joyful life.
If you’d like to speak with someone about your anxiety, please reach out to MindTree at (503) 966-1556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule with one of our counselors.