PHOTO BY DARA @TONICHEALTH / UNSPLASH PHOTOGRAPHY
When the pandemic was announced in March 2020, socialization quickly shifted to digital channels and people saw each other in-person less and less. Over time, physical social interaction only took place when essential, and meeting with friends and family became a less frequent occurrence.
In the present, pandemic restrictions are slowly starting to ease up. Opportunities to meet with loved ones, visit campus and participate in recreational activities are opening up.
After all this time though, getting back into social situations – especially in physical settings – can be overwhelming.
So here are a few tips on how to readjust to the emerging social opportunities coming up.
1.) Set realistic expectations
Consider how you feel about trying different social events. Does attending a campus fair sound like fun, or are you a little nervous about meeting up with your peers?
After months of lockdown and social distancing, the return to in-person activities can feel overwhelming.
It’s completely okay to feel anxious about jumping right back into things. Everyone is still getting used to the return to in-person events.
Ease yourself into attending bigger events. Don’t be afraid to start with smaller goals.
Instead of planning a group gathering with all your friends, you may decide to meet in a smaller group, or one-on-one. Slowly, work towards building up those interactions until you feel ready to tackle bigger social events.
2.) Be patient with yourself
Adding onto the last point, don’t get frustrated if it takes time for you to reach your goals. Maybe you’ll feel excited about visiting a downtown festival in a few days – or maybe you’ll feel ready in a few weeks.
In either case, you’ll get there eventually. Keep in mind that everyone moves at their own pace. What works for you, may not work for everyone else, and vice versa.
Be patient with the people around you as well. While everyone works to make a successful transition to more in-person social activities, each person is different.
3.) Practice self-care
Finally, don’t forget to practice self-care!
Recharge your social battery in a way that works best for you. Hang out with your pet, read a book, or revisit an old hobby.
At the end of the day, put yourself first. Even though things may be growing busy as restrictions lift, it’s important to prioritize your mental health.
Be mindful not to push yourself too hard as you ease back into more socializing.
Take breaks, and most importantly, take care of yourself.