As the sun is shining and warm weather is upon (most of) us (sorry, friends in Minnesota!), many people are looking forward to relieving their year-long cabin fever with (modified) return to activities, events, or outings to the park with friends and family. This excitement can often be paired with anxiety as people aim to sort their big feelings on a variety of topics. Here, we look at some of the best tips and tricks we’ve found to help maintain our grounding:
Step 1: Find a Calming Technique
One of the best things to come out of the pandemic has been the increased emphasis on self-care and mental health. Many of us by now have some sort of routine that allows us to quickly reset. Maybe it’s a song, a great smelling essential oil, or a quick meditation. Even if you don’t yet, there’s no time like the present to find what works for you! Be sure to practice this routine before heading to the park, a gathering, etc. and use it to ground you if you start to feel overwhelmed.
Step 2: Turn Off the Noise
Part of any anxiety can certainly be influenced by outside forces. Consider the media platforms you interact with daily and avoid any that might bring up negative feelings. If scrolling through your social feeds causes stress from all the different opinions or if the nightly news bums you out, remove them from your life right now. Simple interventions like unfollowing toxic accounts or finding a podcast that’s more digestible are simple ways to help remove the cloud they might place over you. Consider spending time getting excited about what this new phase means, seeing more friends and family, gatherings, trips, etc. Grab your photo albums and scroll through to get excited about having these things come back into your life as we return to normalcy.
Step 3: Ask Questions!
Sometimes, what we don’t know causes more concern than the things we do know. To combat this feeling, take the time to connect with the host of your event (or your manager in the workplace) to understand what steps and policies have been enacted to protect you. They are likely just as concerned, if not more, in keeping you all safe and healthy.
Step 4: Keep Up with Self-Care Practices
If you’ve found a way to create time for self-care in your day, then be sure to keep up with it during this time. With so many other changes, keeping this consistency is going to be essential for you. If you’ve been working at home and taking a walk over lunch to reset, keep doing that once you return to the office. Even just a quick stroll around the block will create a sense of security from maintaining these sorts of habits going. And stretching your legs and fresh air are also shown to increase productivity, so it’s a win-win!
Step 5: Stay Positive!
They say a smile is one of the most effective non-verbal forms of communication. Many of us have experienced the power of one first-hand. While wearing a mask makes it hard to show off your pearly whites, be intentional in making eye contact with others. Smiling with your eyes is a simple act that will lighten your mood as well. Whether you’re in the Starbucks Drive-Thru line or passing a coworker in the halls, this is the case. Also, think of ways to lighten up your return to work. Perhaps it’s a thread where you can share return to office blunders and mishaps. Maybe suggesting a funny mask day. Simple things like these can go a long way in lessening what could’ve been a stressful situation.