This will probably change. For many, myself included, anxiety strikes before a gunshot even enters the arm. “Anticipating social interactions is often what is most difficult,” says Brown. “The anxiety of anticipating what this will look like might actually be worse than the reality of the severity of the anxiety once it’s there, but it’s this period of build-up that can be very trying.” for the people. Welcome to the editing period.
The good news is that we can alleviate these symptoms. The first step is to stay present. Easier said than done, but when you feel the forward-looking thoughts creeping in, Brown says, try to catch them and remember not to worry about the summer until, well, summer. “When we think about the future, we feel anxious, and when we think about the past, we tend to feel sad. And so, the goal is, as much as possible, to try to stay right here and now. “
Above all, we need to make deals to be kind to ourselves. Richard Heimberg, professor of psychology at Temple University and former director of his Adult Anxiety Clinic, notes that this kindness will be all the more necessary as the anxious and non-anxious will have a bit of “rust”. Even things that seemed second nature to the Avant Times, like commuting or working in an office, could cause some discomfort after a whole year of no practice. “The level of anxiety that we [all] the feeling in general is going to be elevated due to the health issues and the rust, ”he says. It’s important to make sure that all the goals we set for ourselves take this into account and that we treat them as goals rather than prescriptive.
“If we expect us to behave perfectly,” Heimberg says, “then we’re going to fight if we don’t meet that standard.” For some, re-emergence might be more of a slow motion than a clean break through our shells, and that’s okay. “It’s about accepting that everyone cares as much about what we think of them as the other way around. And it’s about giving yourself the chance to just be human.
With lives the line, the threat of Covid-19 has given many of us the confidence to say no – to others and to ourselves. The few social outings I managed to do while locked out were thankfully accompanied by added sensitivity from friends and family. I did my best to give them the same. Perhaps more importantly, the circumstances led me to extend this policy of non-judgmental acceptance to myself as well. And I’m not ready to give up.
I don’t have to. This honesty with ourselves and others about what we are comfortable with and what we are really like want to to do does not have to go away with the virus. In fact, the whole practice of navigation conversations on the parameters and activities with which we agree, regarding viruses, could leave us better.
“This pandemic has created language for people to start expressing how their comfort level might be different from that of their friends, and I think that’s a great start,” Brown says. “When the context is different and the virus is less of a reason you can’t engage socially, I think people are still going to have to set those boundaries on their own … Not that they should say no to everything, but that you should say yes to the things that might bring you joy.
In a perfect world, I would marry Kondo to hell with my post-vaccination social life – doing the things that make me happy and saying no to the things that don’t. I would burst the pandemic bubble without losing any of my pandemic perspective. Of course, it’s never that easy. I am still the same person. Expectations will inevitably creep in. Sometimes I do things I don’t want, or I look around and wonder if my decisions are the right ones. But I hope I’ll be a little nicer to myself along the way.