Joanna Konstantopoulou is an award-winning London Psychologist and the founder…
The government’s roadmap out of lockdown is slowly reaching its final stages, and life is beginning to feel normal again. With pub gardens flourishing with keen beer drinkers and shopping centres packed with people seeking out the best post-lockdown deals, we’re relishing the chance to socialise with friends and family outside of our bubbles and reenter the world.
Whilst many will rejoice at the thought of being social again, for others, life after lifted COVID restrictions will come as a huge struggle. We have been in and out of lockdowns for over a year, and some people may experience a ‘social hangover’ because we haven’t socialised for such a long time. Others may struggle to get out of the front door or build up the courage to go to crowded places once again. Suppose you’re feeling the effects of post-lockdown social anxiety. In that case, this article will help you minimise any negative effects on your health and psychological well-being, face the future with positivity and guide you through how to socialise with no stress so that you can enjoy the summer.
Don’t dwell on what has been lost
You have lived through an event that will astound your descendants and will feature in the history books for years to come. Yet, you overcame the difficulties and adapted. Your physical, mental and emotional health, along with your finances and relationships, may all have been adversely affected. Still, it will not serve you well to carry those negative aspects with you into the future. Focus instead on what you have learned from being in social restrictions and how you can harness that knowledge and experience and use it to improve the outlook for your health and well-being in the weeks and months ahead.
Take things slowly
The best way to start socialising again is to ease yourself slowly into life after lifted COVID restrictions. There is no pressure to do everything all at once! If you’re feeling anxious, try to take things one step at a time, starting with activities that cause you the least stress before working up to those that cause you the most.
Take stock of where you are now
Many people have gained health and well-being benefits from the lockdown. They have improved their work-life balance, developed new interests and made healthy lifestyle changes. But for vast numbers of others, isolation and anxiety have taken their toll. As a result, their mental and physical health may have suffered, and they are reluctant or nervous about going back to how life was before, or perhaps they no longer have that life to go back to. If you are feeling unprepared for the impact of reentering the world, a professional therapist can help you regain your confidence and motivation.
Talk to your friends
No matter how it may seem, you’re certainly not the only person feeling stressed about socialising after lockdown. Whether you are nervous about catching COVID or if you can’t seem to face being social again, there will be others around you who feel the same way. Talking to friends and family about your worries may help you find solutions to your stress and make them aware of your concerns, which will help them to understand if you do turn down social plans.
Look forward to a fresh start
For many of us, the start of social life will mean a return to something resembling our life before the pandemic; for others, there will have been many changes over the past year that will mean beginning a substantially different way of living. Either way, view it as a fresh start, a chance to alter your lifestyle and habits for the better. You are about to reenter the world again, like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, and with the right strategies in place and a positive mindset, it could be a healthy, happy and wonderful place to be.
Keep yourself safe
The worst-case scenario when socialising after lockdown would be to develop symptoms of Covid-19 suddenly. To prevent this from happening, make sure to keep yourself safe by regularly washing your hands, keeping your distance from others and wearing face masks where necessary. Feeling stressed or anxious about life after lockdown is nothing to be ashamed of. There are plenty of ways to relieve your stress and enjoy your first taste of life without restrictions.
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Joanna Konstantopoulou is an award-winning London Psychologist and the founder of the Health Psychology Clinic in the medical district of Harley street. She is an expert in behavioural and emotional change. She offers unique treatment programs which are a combination of the latest scientific researched strategies of Health Psychology and Cognitive Behavior Therapy.