After a year of Zoom hangouts, it may seem daunting to jump back into hang outs IRL. You might still be feeling uneasy about the pandemic and experiencing anxiety about socializing and in-person interactions. With everything that’s happened, being wary of entering the world again is totally understandable, the most important thing to keep in mind is to go at a pace you feel comfortable with. Don’t let others put pressure on you to do things you feel uncomfortable with, take it slow, and do it your way. Getting back out there will be good for your mental health in the long run, so here are five tips to help you feel more confident and overcome social anxiety at your pace.
Outdoor Hang Outs
During the last year, we’ve all become more creative with the time we spend outside. You might have already been meeting friends for socially distant outdoor activities, in which case continuing all that is great. If you’ve been keeping it more low-key, spending time outdoors is ideal for giving your social life a kick-start again. You can go for a hike or bike ride as these are easy activities not just to get you out, but also to get you moving again. And, if you feel awkward getting the conversation started when you’ve been in front of a screen for a year, these activities are ideal as you don’t necessarily have to be talking the whole time. Hiking or biking give you the opportunity to spend in-person time with your friends without having to worry about what you’ll chat about. Just enjoy some time in nature while you acclimatize back into your friend circle.
Go for a Picnic
If you’re ready for a great convo but feeling uneasy getting back out there in indoor dining, a picnic in the park is a super fun way to go. You can all BYOL (bring your own lunch), and it’s a relaxed way to reconnect with your besties. Even lunch on the steps of the Met or your local equivalent like the ladies of Gossip Girl did every day is a great way to get back into your IRL social circle.
Grab a Pizza
For a quick and tasty way to ease back into dining, grabbing a pizza is a delicious approach. You can get a slice outside or sit inside if you’re comfortable. And, as it’s the fastest of meals, you can have a quick chat in a chill environment without getting too overwhelmed or staying too long.
Try Low-Contact Indoor Activities
If you’re itching to do indoor activities but still feel nervous, going to an art gallery or shopping are smart options. If you’re a lover of arts and culture, no doubt you’ve been craving getting back into an inspiring and creative environment, and as art galleries and museums are usually so spacious you won’t be getting too close to people. Or, if you’re a fashion fan, treating yourself to a new outfit or new clothes could be just the boost you need. And, of course, going shopping with your besties is a great way to get back into the swing of things.
Head To the Cinema
If your social anxiety is bound up in interacting with people, going to see a movie will help you warm back up to socializing. Go for a walk after the film to talk about the movie and what you liked or disliked. And, if you’re feeling it, grab a post-movie snack before calling it a night.
What IRL plans are you making? Share them on social using #LifeUnzipped.