Feeling your anxiety levels shooting through the roof at the thought of heading back to ‘normal’ after government restrictions ease? You aren’t alone.
The past two years have seen our whole world shake from the ground up. We went from socialising with friends on the reg to waving to one another through a computer screen, commuting into the office every day to WFH full-time and saw the whole country close down on numerous occasions in order to keep the pandemic and rising coronavirus rates at bay. It’s no surprise that we’re all feeling a little agitated at the prospect of returning to normal, from going back to the office to piling onto crowded tube carriages.
Sure, many of us have been excited to get back out there into the crowds at gigs, festivals or simply trying to fumble our way through a bar full of hoards of people in the hope of getting a seat, but for others, these thoughts are riddled with anxious emotions. If you’re struggling to comprehend what life might be like now that restrictions have been lifted fully or you’re wondering if you’ll be able to start a conversation on a first date or when you’re out meeting new individuals, there are several groups, platforms and podcasts you can listen to and take part in to help you ease back into the bustle of everyday life.
From London’s very own Introverts Social Club to conversational products that’ll help you get back into the swing of socialising, here are some ways that might help you adapt to life after lockdown.
Journal your anxieties
It might sound like the cliche thing to do, but writing down your thoughts, feelings and emotions really can help relieve stress and anxiety.
After months of being locked inside of our flats and then suddenly having to emerge into ‘normality’ once again, your emotions are bound to be running wild. Putting your thoughts onto paper can be a therapeutic way to let out your worries without having to explain them to others.
Of course, journaling can also be an incredibly rewarding way to relive your favourite moments and memories of past times. Look back at the last year and see how far you have come, whether that’s creatively, career wise or mentally.
Looking back at old entries from times when you were upset, angry or scared can also help to see how far you’ve come and act as a reminder that these feelings, although fragile, aren’t stagnant and don’t last forever.
Join London Introverts Social Club
If you’ve spent the last twelve months living alone or simply just want to meet new people in a fun and friendly setting, check out the London Introverts Social Club.
Designed with introverts in mind, the group hosts various events online and they’ll soon be hosting in-person events again soon. From virtual film nights to fruit picking, organised walks to peer support social mornings, there are a whole host of activities you can get involved in and meet like-minded people in a new way.
Try listening to a conversational podcast
After months spent just socialising over Zoom and social media, it’s natural to feel a little out of practice when it comes to conversation starters. Whether you’re meeting new people or you’re reconnecting with friends who you haven’t seen in months or for keeping up with general office chit-chat now that you’re hybrid working, keeping the conversation flowing is always tricky.
To help you break the ice, why not take a cue card from the question asking experts in the podcast world. ‘SmartLess’ is a fun podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett that hopes to connect others through shared experiences. Each episode sees one of the hosts reveal a mystery guest and the other two ask the celebrity guest improvised questions to create a flowing conversation.
Talk show host Conan O’Brien’s podcast ‘Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend’ is also a great one to follow along with and take notes from his open-ended questions. We also love ‘David Tennant Does A Podcast’ hosted by the former Doctor Who star which sees him chat effortlessly with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry.
Give meditation a try
Proven to reduce anxiety, stress and depression, meditation can help you centre yourself, find calmness and enhance your self-awareness. And spending as little as five minutes a day can really make a whole lot of difference.
If you’re looking to start out on your meditation journey, try a guided meditation to help you on your way. Headspace is a great app for those starting out. It’s an online space for those looking to really explore and reap the benefits of meditation anytime, anywhere. Users are then guided through meditations, animations, articles and videos. While there are also some great YouTube videos dedicated to guiding you through the meditation process, including The Mindful Movement.
Kickstart your day right with a five minute meditation session.
Download a mindfulness app
Leading on nicely from Headspace and meditation, wellness apps might also suit you well on your journey out of lockdown and adapting back into the normalcy of everyday life. My Possible Self is a free mobile app that’s designed to help reduce stress, anxiety and low mood. Through the app you’ll be able to build your own personalised self-improvement plan so you can track your progress over the months.
Users will fill out a guided self-assessment questionnaire, before being given their own personalised plan in which they can track their mood, understand themselves better, look back over their progress and move forward to a brighter, more relaxed future.
Join the Quiet Community
On the quiet side but want to combat your confidence? Quiet Connections, created by Hayley and Stacie, is an online platform that helps you to stop panicking in social situations and to learn to feel proud and comfortable in your quiet self. Through online workshops and free resources, blogs and workbooks, the Quiet Community will help you reach out of your comfort zone and channel that inner confidence you never knew existed.
Head over to their free resources page and get quick tips, conversation starters and join in on courses all helping you to become the quietly confident individual you’ve dreamt of becoming. It’s free and has a great sense of community about the platform spanning the UK.
Join via quietconnections.co.uk
Don’t rush into it
Of course, it’s important to take your time and ease yourself back into normalcy once again. Take baby steps, from meeting up with one friend in a park to gradually easing yourself into smaller social situations. And always remember it’s ok to go at your own pace.