Since the beginning of 2020, whenever we turned on the TV, listened to the radio, browsed social media, or even while speaking with our friends and co-workers we have been bombarded with COVID-19 information. Numbers of infected, numbers of deaths around the world, constantly changing restrictions, and more have flooded our minds daily. The once normal social activities we enjoyed participating in were now considered unsafe and many of us were also required to work from home or lost our jobs completely.
A new collective experience of social anxiety has been amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you suffered from social anxiety before or you’ve slowly developed social anxiety since being isolated and distanced from others, returning to post-pandemic “normal” life can seem more daunting than the onset of the pandemic itself.
You are not alone in your concerns. Studies show that symptoms of social anxiety have increased significantly since 2020. The good news is, there are natural and effective ways to manage and cope with anxiety that will allow you to make a smoother, at-ease transition back into society.
To manage and cope with anxiety you must first understand the symptoms associated with it. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the following symptoms, consult your healthcare provider or physician for clarification.
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, the signs and symptoms of can anxiety include:
Over the last year, social anxiety has been front-row-and-center as we have trained our brains to perceive people themselves as a threat due to the risk of contracting the virus. Fear of going outdoors, interacting with strangers and even fear of the air we breathe in proximity to others has been a concern for many!
As more and more have either already contracted the virus and built up an immunity to it or have become vaccinated, the threat ratio has lowered, however, our brain may not recognize the change and continue to ignite our fight or flight response.
Before the pandemic, you may not have had to deal with anxiety and fear of social settings as you are now. You may also be feeling the pressure from work responsibilities, friends, and/or family to return to your normal routines.
If the idea of re-engaging with society is causing you worry, here are some tips to help:
Start off slow, and steadily work towards the more challenging activities until you can feel comfortable engaging with others in society again.
There are many safe, effective, and natural ways to help cope with anxiety, whether you have been dealing with social anxiety for some time or if this a new onset of the pandemic. Psychologists note that avoiding these issues can have the opposite effect than what you would want and only provide a temporary sense of relief while in the long run actually lead to an increase in anxiety. So getting clear on what you can do to ease your anxiety and taking action right now is important.
Exercise has long been known to benefit our overall health and no matter your age, current physical activity, weight, abilities, or size, even small amounts of exercise have been shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, reduce tension, and boost overall mood.
If you are unsure how to begin to increase your physical activity and are anxious about going too far from home, try these simple changes to your daily routine so you too can reap the benefits of physical activity.
Meditation is a form of calming your mind to increase focus, reduce stress, ease tension, and reduce anxiety levels. It has been scientifically shown to help alleviate the chaos that can crowd our minds, especially when faced with a fearful or anxious situation.
Using meditation to ease anxiety takes practice as in the beginning it may be difficult to calm our racing minds while diving deeper into our inner selves.
Try these mindfulness techniques that can help ground you when feeling anxious and out of control:
Many people turn to medication in an effort to manage anxiety but the reality is the side effects from medications can have their own impact on overall health. Natural supplements like adaptogens can help you cope, reduce depression, help with sleep and keep your system balanced while you are working through new and past anxieties. Speak with your natural health practitioner to find out what supplements will work best for your unique body.
Smells and aromas have a way of triggering memories and many plant oils have a calming effect on our body and mind. Lavender for example has been shown to reduce heart rate in the short term and help to ease sleep issues in the long term.
Balancing your hormones naturally can also help you. Progesterone is the body’s feel-good hormone. It plays an essential role in the normal functioning of the brain and has mood-enhancing and antidepressant effects. Having the right balance of this hormone is essential in helping you feel better and be at your best. Organic excellence has the right products that can help you balance this hormone and other ones you may need. Visit Natural hormonal balance for women and men. - Organic Excellence to know more about these.
Remind yourself of all the things that bring you joy and can help soothe your feelings of anxiety. Watch a funny movie or TV show, read a good book, or learn a new skill.
If you have pets, they can be a great comfort and you can rely on them for emotional support and calm your anxious feelings. Plus, walking a dog routinely outside can help ease you back into socializing with others.
How you choose to reintegrate into ‘normal’ life is your own personal choice. You may be comfortable visiting friends in an open area such as a park, but uncomfortable socializing indoors. Make a list of what you feel comfortable doing and express your fears and concerns with your loved ones so they can clearly understand your needs.
Go a step further and record your feelings, emotions, fears, goals, and expectations in a journal or diary. Often when we see our thoughts on paper, they are easier to face and approach with a calm mindset.
Lastly, be open minded and allow yourself to be friendly (you never know if others are feeling the same way as you). While you need to have empathy for yourself and validate how you feel it’s important to understand that many people are dealing with this reemergence too and are equally anxious about what it all entails.
Peer pressure exists in all stages of life so always remember you have the choice to say “no” when a situation makes you uncomfortable. Your optimal health and mindfulness are vital to re-engaging with society, therefore, when feeling anxious or stressed, try the methods above to calm your mind and release your body from the fight or flight mode.
There are, and always will be, stressors in your life. Re-engaging your inner peace by actively recognizing your anxiety triggers will allow you to focus on moving past them. Knowing your own values, fears, hopes, and future goals will help to set your mind on a new course allowing you to act on resolving your anxiety.
If you are finding your anxiety is increasing, affecting your relationships with others, or controlling your life, don’t hesitate to visit our store and send us a message so we can help you! There are natural ways to help manage your stress and keep your body balanced so these new stressors are not taking control.
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Li-Wei Chien, Su Li Cheng, Chi Feng Liu, "The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Autonomic Nervous System in Midlife Women with Insomnia", Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 740813, 8 pages, 2012.
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