When the COVID-19 pandemic struck more than a year ago, remaining at home and restricting social interaction were critical strategies in the fight against the virus’s spread.
How To Manage Post-Pandemic Social Stress?
As more people become vaccinated, infection rates drop, and restrictions lessen around the country, many individuals are rejoicing at the prospect of finally reuniting with relatives and friends. At the same time, many people are experiencing unexpected sentiments, such as fear about returning to social situations.
It’s natural to struggle with change, even when it’s beneficial, according to Itai Danovitch, MD, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai.
These shifts are thrilling for some people and frightening for others, according to Danovitch.
Danovitch stated that after being gone for so long, returning to work or attending a family BBQ can lead many people to feel apprehensive or even scared.
Fear or anxiety, he claims, is normal. People experience emotions for a purpose, and worry is essentially a dangerous reaction.
According to Danovitch, the threat level that people feel while returning to social circumstances after the pandemic would vary from person to person, and an individual’s impression may even shift from day to day.
To get over these sentiments, Danovitch recommends that individuals take the time before a social gathering to consider exactly what aspects of the impending engagement make them nervous and then strategize about how they might alleviate their fears.
He said to consider what elements are in their control. For example, if they have worries about an impending event or gathering, they should express their issues to the host as soon as possible. Obtaining the knowledge required to make a judgment regarding their degree of comfort and not being hesitant to convey that decision.
According to Danovitch, this may include limiting the amount of time spent at a social event or even denying an invitation.
He stated that they must have open and honest discussions with one another. It takes guts and fortitude to do that, to be honest about how people feel because there is a chance of being misunderstood.
However, according to Danovitch, it’s critical to remember that these worrisome sensations aren’t usually an indication of a larger problem.
According to him, not every anxiety or dread is an anxiety disorder. Many people will have some apprehension or shyness at first but will quickly acclimate to and enjoy greater socialization.
Anxiety and terror, according to Danovitch, cross the threshold when they create malfunction, impairment, or significant suffering.
For example, if people are so concerned about returning to work, which is a social context, that they don’t come in at all, if they have repeated panic attacks, or if their anxiety is chronic, widespread, and interfering with their function, it makes sense to seek professional counseling, he added. Anxiety problems are fairly prevalent, and there are several effective therapies available to help with them.
Danovitch suggests speaking with a primary care practitioner about care and treatment alternatives for those who suffer from social anxiety to the point that it interferes with their life.
Whether people already have social anxiety or are experiencing it for the first time, post-pandemic living will be difficult. However, this does not exclude individuals from returning to a life that makes sense for them. That life may not seem the same as it did in the past, but that is not always a negative thing.
Keeping an open mind, allowing oneself to be nice since others may be feeling the same way they are, and doing their best to get out for a short period each day. They should eventually feel better about their situation and may not even recall when things were so difficult.