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Normalising Social Anxiety

YSJSU
Normalising Social Anxiety

Introduction

It has been over 12 months since we experienced any feeling of “normality”. The brief times when we had relaxation were underpinned by looming threats of lockdown and virus spikes. Therefore, it’s understandable if you are feeling anxious about the next few months as restrictions begin to ease in the UK. Of course, many of us are excited for the opening of beer gardens and being able to socialise in normality, but it’s also okay if you have some reservations. If you are finding things overwhelming and confusing take a moment to read what I have to say. I’ve suggested ways to help you as we begin to integrate back into society, and some useful links to check out should you need. 

What is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is something many people experience, and it’s expected that more people will as restrictions ease has, we try to familiarise ourselves with society again. Social anxiety can be unexpected and overwhelming. Things to spot in public if you are suffering from social anxiety is sweating, shaking, feeling sick and “on edge”.  Whilst it is a priority to get yourself to a safe space it is also important to recognise why you are experiencing social anxiety.  

This is not me diagnosing but highlighting the things to spot. I hope it helps you understand what might be going on, or why your friends might not be themselves socialising. For more information, check out the NHS website, or if you have concerns, chat to your GP.  

Below I have suggested things that have helped me throughout lockdown easing. I hope it can do the same to ensure both yourself and others feel safe and enjoy your time out and about. 

PLAN YOUR DAY

If you are going for a meal, drinks, or even just to the shops, it’s good to know where you’ll be going and the best routes to take. This can minimise your time spent amongst large groups of people. York is full of little snickets and cut throughs that is handy to get from a) to b) as fast as possible.  

Secondly if you’d rather enjoy the company of people that’s also fine! If you have booked somewhere make sure you get there on time – navigating through crowds is something of an extreme sport! 

Make sure you have everything you need – see our checklists to fully prep everything! 

KNOW WHEN TO TAKE A BREAK 

I’ll be honest, I’m a social recluse at the best of times, and lockdown(s) were a chance to really enjoy that, no matter how excited I am to be able to socialise again. For some people, socialising can become overwhelming, and your “social battery” may drain faster than normal! If this is the case, know when you need some “me time”, and take it! Self-care is still top of the list, and it’s important that you find time to get away from it all and recharge. 

BE RESPECTFUL OF OTHERS 

Remember not everyone is the same!! Whilst you may enjoy the freedom, others may be anxious and uncomfortable with loud behaviour and big crowds. Therefore, when going between venues make sure you respect others around you. Be mindful and look out for others in your group. Check in with your housemates and tell them when you are meeting others to ensure they’re comfortable with it. 

GET HOME TESTING KITS 

Pick up home testing kits NOW from campus or your local pharmacy. This is a great way to keep on top of your covid tracking and ease your anxiety if you come into contact with covid.  Test yourself twice a week with home testing kits for FREE from the NHS. This will ensure you and others are staying safe, especially as most of the younger population have yet to have the vaccine. 

YOU’RE NOT ALONE 

For many of us, studying and working from our bedrooms has increased our independence and reduced anxiety and social skills in some cases, even if we might not be aware of it. Take it steady and know that, despite the excitement we all feel, many of us are in the same boat of uncertainty, and it’s okay to be anxious! 

There are some great resources out there that offer brilliant tips and advice on this subject, and a few of them are below for you to check out. As always, our wellbeing team and chaplaincy are available for you to talk to should you need advice or just someone to talk to. 

Looking after your mental health as we come out of lockdown: https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/managing-feelings-about-lockdown-easing/ https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/coronavirus/looking-after-your-mental-health-we-come-out-lockdown 

Keep up to date with restriction alterations: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus 

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