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Social Anxiety as We Start to Reopen

Social anxiety is common. I mean, as common as out of every 100 people you meet, 18 of them are suffering too (and that number is probably highly underreported). For some of us, our dreams came true when we were literally told to stay inside our homes. Carbs, sweats, and greasy hair was my absolute ideal situation and working from the comfort of my couch was the cherry on top. I could get used to this. But months have come and months have gone and now we're being told we can enjoy the so-basic tasks we used to, like a half-full pilates class or a restaurant. Having trouble coping with social anxiety as we start to reopen? I've listed three ways below that have helped me stay sane and social.

  1. Have boundaries and a plan. What are you most comfortable doing? If your plans involve you getting in an Uber, taking the train, etc., then you're likely to become more anxious. Consider asking your roommate or family member to drive you to and from wherever you're meeting friends for dinner and simplify your plans as much as possible. If you don't care about the Ubers, but care more about the setting in which you're going, then have that conversation. Creating boundaries is completely acceptable and nothing to be ashamed of. Ask yourself what those boundaries are, set them with those around you, and stick to them. There's no rulebook to reopening. It's up to you how to establish your boundaries, which is a blessing in disguise.

  2. Don't rush the process. You were patient enough to sit inside during lockdown, we don't need to rush all at once to get our favorite brunch. Scope out the scene if it makes you feel more safe. Order takeout and eat it at a park nearby. Eliminate the uncertainty that you feel. Many times, we'll tell you to do things that scare you but this is different. How you choose to handle this is completely at your own discretion because it's a serious illness. Make sure you only do what you're comfortable with.

  3. Remember that things will resume. Things will get back to normal! You'll see your friends and eat your brunch and get your favorite coffee. These things aren't gone forever and if it's too big right now to do these things, that's okay. Like we've said, you make the rules here. Remember it'll all be over. Take a breath and order that Postmates, sis. You deserve it.

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