How are you feeling about the approaching holiday season? As we near the end of 2022, our first “Post Pandemic” year, we know that re-entry into society has taken on different forms for different people. For some, it has presented a real challenge.
As we prepare for upcoming holidays, Tysons Interfaith is pleased to offer a series of blog posts authored by members of our faith communities that highlight reflections on self, our place in the world, and suggestions for re-entering society and promoting comity among family and friends.
We need to socialize-we are social creatures. We need to be able to have community, to come together, to share a language, a friendship. Covid changed all that. Isolating at home became the new normal. Now with vaccines and anti-viral medications, people are returning to socializing indoors and outdoors. This can lead to anxiety for many people. Taking a gradual approach will help most people ease back to socializing again.
We adapted to a new reality, living with the uncertainty and fear of the impact of a deadly Covid virus. We were forced to physically distance from family and friends with video calling becoming the primary way of socializing. It was challenging. We are creatures of habit, but we became accustomed to isolating at home. Now that we are used to isolating, it will be another transition to engage in person with others both indoors and outdoors.
Dealing with long periods of isolation can increase social anxiety even for those who are naturally extroverted. For those of us who enjoyed the isolation because of underlying social anxiety or being introverted, the return to awkward social situations is even more terrifying. You are not alone. Many people are dealing with these same feelings.
We have missed out on subtle forms of communicating like facial cues and body language which don’t come across over video or talking to people with masks on. The introvert and those with a diagnosis of social anxiety may have felt “comfortable” for the most part during the lockdown. Their challenge is having to deal with their difficulties in returning in person to social situations. Be understanding of your situation and the situation of others. Gradually begin to restart your social interactions, at first with people you are comfortable with. Make your initial interactions short, gradually increasing the time as your comfort level improves. Reward yourself for your effort by indulging in a solitary activity that brings you joy. Be kind to yourself. This might not be easy. Be kind to others. This may be difficult for them too.
Social anxiety, generalized anxiety, agoraphobia and other issues may require extra help. For those with conditions that impact their ability to function in society and are not successfully making the transition, professional help may be required.
As we enter the busy holiday season, here are a few of my thoughts on ways to keep one’s equilibrium:
CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES
HAVE A SENSE OF PURPOSE
FIND WAYS TO BE OF SERVICE
EXERCISE, GET GOOD SLEEP, EAT WELL
LIMIT SCREEN TIME AND AVOID GETTING OVERLOADED WITH INFORMATION YOU ARE UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT
MAKE SURE YOUR INFORMATION IS COMING FROM A RELIABLE SOURCE
FINDING HOPE AND OPTIMISM CAN HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT OR YOUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH