Two Years of COVID-19: Here’s Why Social Anxiety Is Normal

DENVER (KDVR) – The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives for nearly two years – from lockdowns to quarantines and isolation to missing out on regular in-person events.

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While the pandemic may not end, many people are trying to return to their so-called “normal lifestyle”.

As you start attending more events and doing more things in person, it can make you feel anxious.

Feeling social anxiety after the pandemic is normal, said Dr. Justin Ross, a clinical psychologist and director of workplace wellbeing at UCHealth.

Anxiety has been a cornerstone of the mental health experience through COVID and through the pandemic in general. “It ebbed and flowed with the different variables we tested, and Omicron is no different,” Ross said. “In terms of mental health, we are seeing a high level of anxiety, particularly COVID anxiety where omicron is still in high numbers.”

social anxiety

Ross said that with increasing uncertainty about the pandemic, it is important to understand that anxiety can increase with uncertainty.

“We don’t have the ability to reasonably know, anticipate or clarify what’s coming, and that would really be the first building block for the concern,” Ross said.

The lack of immediate control in the social sense at the moment can be a cause for social anxiety.

“We don’t have that immediate control in terms of making sure we’re going to be safe and healthy,” he said.

Ross told KDVR that people are experiencing what could be described as a “conflict of values,” particularly in a social sense.

On the one hand, they want to continue to stay safe and healthy and that is of course true throughout the pandemic. But on the other hand, there is a strong desire to restore a sense of normalcy, and there is a renewed feeling of wanting to get together, go to restaurants, go places and do social things, so these two values ​​often conflict. “

The struggle between being social and wanting to stay healthy and safe is normal at the moment.

“It starts with feeling overwhelmed and feeling like your safety might be threatened,” Ross said. “A lot of us have had to hunker down over the past few years, and this novelty of getting together and rejoining big groups again can feel exhausting very quickly.”

Dealing with social anxiety

Normalizing social anxiety and realizing that it is a perfectly normal part of your experiences is the first step in dealing with it.

“The first thing we have to do is we need to get some things back to normal to realize that the experience is really common and a human experience that happens because of these variables, because of unpredictability, lack of control, having the things you care about feeling like they are being threatened in some way or form or shape,” he said.

The second step, according to Ross, is realizing that we have the power to influence our anxiety responses, through our breathing and through our way of thinking.

“Pausing, and taking slow, deep breaths for just one minute, can really help reduce that feeling of anxiety in the mind and body,” Ross said. “This is an idea as old as dirt, we’ve heard and said our whole lives: Just take a breath when we’re upset. Sometimes we get anxious when we feel pressured to do something. We feel like we have to do it and we don’t have an outlet.”

Ross said that if you start to feel this anxiety, you should reconnect with your values ​​and priorities and think about what is most important in this situation.

When is it time to seek professional help?

Overall, Ross said there will be a lot of renewed anxiety people feel when they go back to “researching every inch of the world.”

If the anxiety persists, there comes a point when you should seek professional help.

“If it gets to a point where it’s debilitating, it affects your ability to live your life authentically the way you want to, and it does so frequently. It affects you for days, several different events, and perhaps these are signs that This concern is growing to the point that it may benefit some professionals.”

“Give yourself permission to learn what you feel normally, and learn about this information to analyze,” he said. “You can examine the values ​​and struggles you have, and it can really help you connect [and have] This response is in the mind and body to navigate this situation appropriately.”

Last month, White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci emphasized the importance of mental health amid the pandemic.

“Mental health is a very important and challenging condition that we are dealing with now,” Fauci He said in an interview On NewsNation’s “Morning in America”.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention He notes that the pandemic has had a “huge impact on our lives”.

“Many of us face challenges that can be stressful, stressful, and cause strong emotions in adults and children,” the CDC states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that stress can cause feelings of fear, anger, sadness, anxiety and frustration, among other things. It can also lead to difficulty sleeping or concentrating as well as physical reactions such as headaches and other body aches.

The CDC suggests taking care of your body, making time to relax and safely connecting with others.

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