During the long months of the pandemic we all struggled with insecurities, fears and loneliness. As much as we tried to put effort into staying and keeping others safe, we had to put our social life, family life, sports and hobbies on hold. We lost a bit of our identity and inspiration to lockdowns and restrictions. Now that those restrictions are lifted we can pick up on our lives “as it used to be”. But is that so easy?
Many of us feel lonely from time to time and these short-term feelings shouldn’t harm our mental health. Some recent researches revealed that in the beginning of the pandemic a higher sense of purpose was linked to less loneliness. We were willing to give up on our social life in order to comply with the regulations stop spreading the virus. However, the longer the pandemic went on, the more these feelings became long-term. And long-term loneliness lead to increased level of depression, anxiety and stress.
During the restrictions we had to rely on technology a lot more for communication. While it has been a valuable tool, we felt exhausted by our online social life. This online social life had many disadvantages that discouraged us:
This online social life had many disadvantages that discouraged us:
- Talking through a screen lacked a healthy emotional connection
- Our direct communication made it easier to be hurtful
- We had less understanding and thoughtfulness to the other
- It was hard to express our feelings in an authentic way
- When we did express we felt exposed to the other
- In general we felt awkward and inpatient
- It discouraged us to reach out and take initiative
- Slowly we lost our face-to-face communication skills
- And at the end we felt disconnected…. and got passive
What we forget is that we were not alone with these disappointments! And now, while some of us find it easy to reboot our social life, others struggle with the way back. Do you still feel cut off as if nobody cares about you? Do you experience social anxiety? Are you afraid to get rejected? Did you forget how to make friends?
First it is important to admit to your feelings of loneliness. It doesn’t mean you failed, neither that nobody will ever value your company again. If you lost your social skills, it is normal that you will need time to practice and feel them again. You will also need time to open up and trust showing yourself to others. Also trust in others needs time, studies show that making a friend needs 90-200 hours to spend together. Therefore the best start is to focus first on finding your passion back. Start practicing activities that fulfill you and make you shine. Liking yourself before going out in search of friends is important for a healthy relationship. With the time you can use the regained energy to reconnect with people in a confident way.
Do you still feel blocked putting yourself out? Afraid to show yourself, or feel sad that people don’t look you up? With the help of therapy we can investigate the underlying fears and emotions. We discover what you miss to regain your confidence. Therapy can help you lose your negative thoughts and regain your strength to go out there and pick up your long awaited post-pandemic life.
Feel free to book a free of charge initial talk in my practice.