The New Social Distancing (a.k.a. Anxiety)—The Practical Side

At the end of 2020 I started listening to a podcast by a female therapist in another part of the country. In one of these episodes towards the end of last year she was talking about anxiety in general, but then made a specific prediction about how and why anxiety would be on the rise well after the pandemic began to soften.

She predicted that as people started venturing out of their homes where they had been quarantined (with or without having COVID) and going back to places like work, school, gyms and churches that they would feel extraordinarily anxious.

I have to say that this is a trend I have been observing recently in my practice. In 2020, it seemed that many of the people I saw (mostly virtually) were worried about getting sick, getting those they loved sick, dying and losing economic stability. Now it appears that while people I am seeing are still somewhat worried about these issues, they are increasingly anxious about returning to normal life. For example, they report feeling anxious eating in a restaurant and being near other people—people they have not been quarantined with the last year or so and were previously incredibly used to seeing. Clients talk about not knowing how to approach others upon greeting them and ask—do I shake hands, hug, elbow bump or just wave. Others say it feels odd to order coffee or ask for help in a store.

In essence, people are experiencing anxiety as they begin to “do life” again. And, the irony is, so many people want (and need) the social interaction yet feel overwhelmed trying to begin again. I will speak more to this topic in the personal blog on this topic, but for now, make a plan. Make a plan this week to connect with others socially—even if it is outside and socially distant. Try to get out of your house every day even if it means working around others in a coffee shop. Connect with people face-to-face and not only through screens (again, doing it according to your comfort level and social distancing as needed).

If you are feeling anxious or depressed or experiencing any other mental health issue, we can help. Our experienced and compassionate therapists have the expertise to support you during your current life season to become the best you possible. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.


Yolanda Brailey