Before COVID-19, you were doing dinners out with friends, working out in a gym, or just getting outside of your house. Now it seems like putting on jeans is a chore, or maybe your jeans don’t even fit anymore.
Part of you really misses socializing and having friends and events, but home is so comfy and cozy that it is really hard to leave. You may have developed some social anxiety over the break and be struggling in trying to get back out there.
How did you use to get out of your house and away from the TV? You wonder, how can you break this cycle? Part of you really misses socializing and having friends and events, but home is so comfy and cozy that it is really hard to leave.
However, you know that friendships have so many benefits and that it will really help you to feel happier and more connected.
So…how do you get back to being social?
1: Brainstorm Your Social Opportunities
There’s so much out there socially to engage in. You’ve changed in the past two years as has the world, so you may need to think about what really interests you.
Are you passionate about volunteering and wanting to get involved there? Are you wanting to get into classes at a local gym? Start outlining your interests and hobbies. Then decide on a few areas that you really need in your life, such as exercise, or more time with friends.
2: Take It Slow Socially Re-Engaging After Quarantine
First, don’t pack your calendar with events that you need to attend. Start with a few small events, such as a dinner out with a friend or joining a sports league. Isolate out a few small interests or people you may want to see, then begin to work on that list.
If you start small, you are more likely to stick to the events than getting halfway through the week, getting exhausted, then resting for another week straight. Starting small helps you keep your commitments.
3: Recognize Social Anxiety
If you are worried about nerves, recognize the signs of your social anxiety.
Signs Of Social Anxiety Include:
· Avoiding things you used to enjoy
· Making excuses for doing things, such as being too busy or too tired
· Choosing solo activities over social activities, like watching Netflix over seeing a friend
· Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
· Expecting the worst or most negative experience from a situation
If you have any of those, try to remind yourself what the worst possible situation would be, the best possible situation, and the most likely. Practice coping skills such as 4-7-8 breathing, journaling, or tapping. Using coping skills can help get you back out there socially and feeling your best. If you need coping skills, consider therapy to learn tons of coping skills to add to your tool belt.
For other help with social anxiety, check our blogs such as Can Extroverts Have Social Anxiety, How To Help Someone With Social Anxiety Without Becoming A Caregiver or Dependent, and How to Calm Social Anxiety & Fears So They Don’t Stop You From Making Friends.
4: Realize Social Skills Need Practice
Your social skills may have deteriorated over quarantine, and that’s okay. The good news is—they are skills and can be practiced and made great again. You may realize as you get back out there being social, you need little ways to practice your social skills.
Three little ways to practice social skills and get back out there socially can be:
· Connect back with others through cards, phone calls, texts, or video calls
· Find small jokes to make in conversations
· Practice your open-ended questions or think of questions to ask others, such as about the weather, or their summer plans
These can be practiced at the work water cooler, with your local cashier, or reaching out to friends and family who you haven’t talked to in a while.
Getting back to being social after quarantine and a pandemic is no easy task. You may have to relearn your social skills, practice reaching out, and find new friendships as maybe some of yours have moved away or lost touch. However, you can achieve making new friends and getting back to being social and around others.
For more help battling social anxiety or working on how to be more social, reach out for therapy at 757-296-8794.
If you are looking for individual counseling, Mary Willoughby Romm is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives ofwomen, college students, kids,tweens/teens, andfamilies through providing communication strategies, coping skills that work, allowing a safe space to be heard, and actively working towards helping you with your challenges. She is certified inParent-Child Interaction Therapy (ages 2-7) andTrauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,counsels substance abuse in teens and adults, and practicesEye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.