Do you find yourself having an intense and persistent fear of being watched and judged by others when you are out in public?
Do you limit going somewhere or meeting friends out of fear?
You may have social anxiety.
Social anxiety is a mental health disorder with the symptoms of fear and anxiety in all social environments. You may also find yourself worrying about things weeks before they occur.
With the current climate of COVID-19, physical distancing was recommended, making it easier for individuals with social anxiety to avoid socializing altogether. As we move out of lockdown and places start to open up, you may be suffering from the emotional obstacle of fear and anxiety for social activities resuming back to normal.
So, the question remains, how do I manage my social anxiety? According to research, one of the most common treatments for social anxiety involves gradually exposing yourself to social situations. Try socializing slowly by meeting your friends and family or going to your local restaurant. This will be helpful long-term as you will be able to progress and acknowledge that these situations are not threatening.
This particular exposure to social situations may be anxiety-inducing, but, it is important to challenge these beliefs and feelings that make up these feelings. The inability to do this will make it more difficult to progress with managing social anxiety.
While we move out of lockdown, it is imperative to take socializing at your own pace. If you do not feel ready to step out into the world yet, revert to zoom calls. This will allow you to feel connected while socializing with people online.
It is imperative to understand your anxiety and understand what situations you may feel most anxious about. Once you have determined this, you can then work on managing these behaviors. One technique that may be beneficial in breaking down challenging situations into smaller parts and work on feeling more relaxed with each part. It is important to remember you can take this at your own pace.
It is important to remember that these answers will not work for every individual. For example, you may get back out there and socialize, and this will limit the fears you have for the next time you socialize. On the other hand, you may find it more difficult. However, remember that this process is different from individual to individual, it is essential to understand these feelings and not rush yourself.
UNDERSTANDING and LISTENING to your anxiety is key for overcoming social anxiety.