Do you have questions and concerns regarding life after lockdown? Don’t worry; you’re not alone. As governments throughout the world announce the lifting of the limitations imposed during the lockdown, many people are concerned about their ability to return to normalcy.
Though most people wish for the days when they could live their lives as they used to, there are outliers who find comfort in all of this and now prefer the ‘lockdown existence,’ scared of returning to their social lives.
This ‘post-lockdown social anxiety’ includes the fear of leaving our houses and meeting new people. Though the lockdown was effective in slowing the transmission of the virus, it exacerbated the problem by leading to elevated levels of social anxiety among those who were already impacted by social media and continuous COVID-19 coverage.
Here are some pointers to aid anyone who is having social anxiety about returning to work and adapting to life after the lockdown.
1. Accept the situation
For the majority of us, this is the first time in our lives that we have been forced to reduce our social life. As a result, understanding that things will be difficult for each of us might help us prepare for what is to come.
Understanding that it is a difficult moment for everyone throughout the world and that your coworkers are also striving to find optimism in this period of uncertainty will go a long way toward improving your mental state.
The more you accept the circumstance, the less concerned you will be when you return to work. In such circumstances, it is impossible to remain in our houses indefinitely. As a result, embracing the existing circumstance and adjusting to the “new normal” is the way to go.
2. Take appropriate precautions
The lifting of the constraints imposed by the lockdown does not imply that we may resume our usual lifestyles. We must still wash our hands, wear masks, and keep social distance. Similarly, we must avoid shaking hands during meetings and hugging each other when a transaction is closed.
Taking these procedures will not only help to assuage our anxieties about the virus but will also assist in ensuring the safety of ourselves and our coworkers.
Furthermore, before returning to your duties, make certain that your workplace is safe. Maintain a safe gap of at least two metres between yourself and your coworkers. Make careful to wash your hands often and observe all health precautions.
Similarly, make sure you and everyone else who works with you use face masks when they return to work. All of these steps will help to alleviate your fear of catching the virus to some level and also help in dealing with social anxiety.
3. Reduce your screen time
The amount of time you spend on social media and news websites might contribute to greater social anxiety. Keeping up with the current news might help us become more aware of the world in which we live. However, we frequently fail to recognise the impact that this practice of continually monitoring news feeds has in raising our social anxiety levels.
4. Don’t overwhelm yourself
Allow yourself ample time to ease back into your career when you return to work. Take it easy, and don’t overdo it. Make certain that the atmosphere at your office is not too stressful and that you are made to feel welcome. As you return to work, make time for all of the activities you were doing during the lockdown, such as trying out new recipes, gardening, or studying your favourite instrument.
5. Avoid stressful situations
When driving to work, depart early to minimise the stress of being stopped in traffic or being late. If you must utilise public transportation, maintain social distance and wear your mask to reduce your chance of getting the virus.
Similarly, strive to clear backlogs at work as soon as possible, make sure you prepare adequately for the presentation you have to deliver to decrease social anxiety and prevent any conflicts with coworkers to preserve a healthy environment for everyone.
6. Speak up with your employer and colleagues
You must address your condition, your mental health, with others around you in order to ensure a calm transition back to work. In rare situations, your company may consider allowing you to work from home due to your mental health.
Under some conditions, the organisation may be able to considerably assist you by even providing equipment to assist you in establishing your home office. A communication breakdown with the employer, on the other hand, might be a source of concern. As a result, it is preferable to speak out and get feedback from your employer about any challenges you are experiencing.
Similarly, it is critical for employers and managers to express emotional support to those under their supervision and to contribute to the creation of a healthy work environment.
They should be aware that, given the current conditions, some of their workers may be anxious about returning to work due to the difficulties of getting to the workplace on a regular basis. As a result, encouraging workers to openly voice their concerns is essential.
7. Don’t discuss about Covid-19
The number of impacted cases is expected to climb as the Coronavirus scenario evolves. While it is important to remain informed of the situation, fretting about the epidemic throughout the day is not. To avoid the social anxiety caused by constant exposure to COVID-related news, it is best to avoid any discussion or debate regarding the pandemic unless absolutely essential.
8. Take care of yourselves
It is vital to acquire at least six to eight hours of excellent quality sleep every night to maintain a healthy state of mind. This ensures that you are charged for the next day and that you have control over your thinking. Breathing techniques and yoga might also help you feel more calm. Taking care of your meals and eating a well-balanced diet also contributes to a healthy mind.
9. Maintain work-life balance
Make it a point to arrange some breaks in between work hours. Though the epidemic will prevent you from going out with your pals or attending exciting activities, there are alternative ways to break up the monotony of your workday. Simple activities such as a quick walk at a local park may be included.
Including activities that you actually love in your daily routine may significantly reduce your social anxiety levels and work as ‘mind-boosters’ to raise you and make it easier for you to adjust to the ‘new normal.’
10. Talk to your loved ones
Being open to your loved ones and addressing all of your problems with them, as well as asking for their advice, is one of the most effective and simple ways to reduce your social anxiety levels. This benefits, not just you but also the other person with whom you are conversing if they are also suffering from social anxiety. Talking to someone you trust might help you clear your mind and make room for more positive thoughts.
Wrapping It Up
Although the approaches described above appear apparent and straightforward, they may be quite helpful in reducing social anxiety. However, if you continue to struggle with social anxiety, it is best to consult with a psychologist as soon as possible.