For the past year and a half, we have become hyper focused on ourselves and have interacted with fewer people than ever before. As we re-enter our places of work, education, and social gatherings some extra steps for smooth transition may be required. Here are a few reminders and tips as you emerge from social hibernation:
- Our reactions are natural and normal
- It is natural if you are feeling a bit of fear and a sense of loss knowing the environments and safe worlds you built are starting to change. You may feel overwhelmed as you start to schedule more activities; something we have been wanting and looking forward to may also feel draining and overwhelming now
- You are not alone
- According to APA’s Stress in America Poll, nearly 50% of Americans have reported that they feel anxiety while starting to rejoin in-person events and activities. So, if you’re feeling awkward, anxious, or even irritable, you can count on the fact that others are in a similar place
- Adjustment will take time
- Remember that adjustment will take time, just as it did with the initial experience of quarantine. And each person will adapt according to their own needs.
- Greeting and interacting with others may look and feel a little different than our pre-pandemic days so it can be helpful to plan ahead to gain a sense of control.
- Start slow and small & build off successes
- Start with small goals. Our tolerance of being around others has changed
- Start with people & places you are comfortable with and work your way up to more challenging situations. For example, start with a 30 min walk with a friend before committing to larger or longer events and activities
- Aim for quality of interaction, not quantity.
- Your social skills might be rusty, so be kind to yourself and give yourself the time to build them up again.
- Establish, communicate, and respect boundaries when socializing. Let others know if you are comfortable hugging or if you prefer to maintain 6 feet of distance, etc.
This post about social hibernation and social success was provided by Dr. Carly Knauf. Welcome to Fort Collins, Dr. K!!