Pandemic — COVID — Lockdown. Words that create anxiety just saying them. Alas, humanity has lived these words for the past two years. Finally, we’ve pivoted towards what’s being called “a new normal.” Unfortunately, COVID-19 is here to stay. Society must learn to coexist with this reality, and experts agree it’s manageable. So, how can people begin to socialize after serial lockdowns? Here are some suggestions.
Socialize at Your Own Speed
People have differing levels of comfort these days. Now that businesses, theatres, and eateries are opening, many people want to begin socializing again. However, for as many people that want to socialize, there are as many who are not ready to do so. There is no right or wrong. The important thing is to meet with people when you feel comfortable. Remember, you are in control of where you go and whom you meet. If you’re not ready to meet friends in person, then try meeting them online. Work your way up to meeting people in a public setting. There is no rush.
Humans are Naturally Social
We need other people. This does not mean everyone has the same social battery. Some people need a lot of socializing, and others don’t need as much company. This is fine. Know your preference. There are people who enjoy keeping to themselves and were like this before the pandemic. Allow yourself to be who you are. If you were, however, once rather social, but find yourself changed because of the lockdowns, give it time. It’s likely that you’ll naturally desire seeing people when you’re ready. Though, if you’re truly suffering, manage your mental health by seeing your doctor. Chances are others feel similarly.
Do What Makes You Happy
If you want to go for a walk, then go for a walk. You can still practice social distancing. If you miss going to your favourite café, try returning gradually. Allow yourself to enjoy the things you loved before pre-pandemic times. Be mindful of situations and certain people that may not respect your boundaries and let them know. Carry hand sanitizer wherever you go. Wear a mask. But don’t stop doing the things that bring you joy.
This is a new situation for the world. Experts often disagree on how to navigate through this difficult era. Now, more than ever, it’s time to listen to yourself. Listen to what expert advice works for you and ignore what doesn’t. The pandemic has been a frustrating time. Some anxiety is normal. Trust that you can enjoy socializing again. Don’t feel guilty when you’re enjoying time with friends or alone. Do feel good that society is pulling through this pandemic. Human beings are resilient. That means you too.
Jason Waddle | Contributing Writer