It's been a year of Zoom meetings, drive-thru birthday celebrations, and virtual hangouts. This new way of life forced us to restructure our social and professional lives. As the vaccine becomes increasingly available, businesses are reopening and we're returning to work. Now, we must start transitioning back to what we believed to be "normal."
The first day of returning to work after COVID will create more social interactions than we had all years. Our interpersonal skills can be a bit rusty, and people with social anxiety might struggle to adapt back to their old ways.
Even people with strong social skills are going to find this transition back challenging. Here are some social skills training tips for everyone as we face a return to offices, restaurants, and backyard BBQs!
Get Out Of Your Head
Many people are actively concerned that the person they're speaking to doesn't like them. A recent study confirmed that the average person feels anxious when they engage in new social interactions. Yet, results concluded that "after people have conversations, they are liked more than they know.
COVID unemployment hit hard, and some of us are starting new jobs. We'll be meeting our coworkers for the first time.
Others are turning to offices with familiar faces that might have already caused us to question our social standing prior to COVID.
No matter where you are on the spectrum, social interactions at work shouldn't impede your mental health.
Consider this return to work as a clean slate, where everyone is essentially developing social skills from scratch. Communicate with others with confidence. They're going through many of the same adjustments you are!
The pandemic shielded us in our own little bubbles. We weren't subjected to as many people bickering over the election or debating the vaccine. Now, we're more prone to the heated pre-COVID discussions that tended to happen in specific social settings.
These types of social situations can definitely impact one's mental health. It's imperative that you put up boundaries to avoid the physical symptoms of anxiety that come from water cooler talk.
Whether pandemic talk is an anxiety trigger or the latest news topic is polarizing, it's okay to opt-out of a conversation. Redirect the conversation or politely ask the person to talk about something else.
You can always do the classic, "I need to use the restroom," and leave the social circle completely. Don't feel obligated to offer anybody an explanation. Do what is best for your mental health.
Tranquility Labs' Tranquilene Total Calm
Returning to work after COVID can be a stressful experience. Enduring stress can negatively impact effective communication.
Having to perform in front of your colleagues is stressful enough. Becoming hyper-aware of your stressed-out body language and rusty social skills can really exacerbate symptoms of social anxiety.
Tranquility Labs' Tranquilene Total Calm is an all-natural supplement optimized to promote relaxation. This proprietary formula contains a wide spectrum of botanicals, vitamins, and minerals that support healthy GABA and serotonin production.
Serotonin is a hormone responsible for feelings of happiness. Sufficient levels of this brain chemical make the return to work feel less daunting.
Meanwhile, GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. It promotes calm throughout the system so your thoughts are more rational, ultimately promoting more effective communication.
Speak to A Mental Health Professional
The lockdown was supposed to be a short term thing. A year later, and millions are accustomed to a flexible work schedule, and wearing their pajamas all day. Now, it's time to trade in the leggings for a pair of slacks and longer workdays.
It's natural to experience a sense of mourning. Millions got used to this new way of life and don't want to go back to the way things were.
Discuss these concerns with a mental health professional. They can help you create coping mechanisms to deal with this stressful transition.
Those with symptoms of social anxiety might benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is effective because it causes those with social anxiety to examine the root of their issues.
Therapists can tailor a CBT session to match any unique social interaction that causes you anxiety. They can walk you through conflict resolution with loved ones, return to work fears, how to dine out in public calmly, and more.
Work on Social Skills
The keyword in social skills is "skills." A skill is something that a person must work on to perfect. Developing social skills takes time and patience.
Social skills to consider include:
Nodding and Eye Contact - Denotes Paying Attention and Listening
Reading Body Language - Determining Whether A Person Is Enjoying the Interaction
Conflict Resolution - Create Peace and Continue Coexistence
Empathy - The Ability to Put Yourself in Someone Else's Shoes
Effective Communication - Getting Your Point Across Clearly
It is helpful to know your social skill inadequacies. Actively work on honing these skills with baby steps. Begin with eye contact and nodding. This small gesture alone will improve effective communication, create an environment for conflict resolution, and hone empathy.
Tranquility Labs' Focusene
Returning to work or social gatherings can be overly stimulating, especially for a person with anxiety. Such a high-sensory experience requires a spectrum of brain chemicals. Tranquility Lab's Focusene is formulated to provide well-rounded, brain-boosting support.
This all-natural formula contains ingredients essential for the brain to produce:
Acetylcholine - Carries Signals Across Brain Cells, Vital for Memory
Choline - Produces Acetylcholine, Influences Mood and Intelligence
GABA - Inhibitory Neurotransmitter, Calms Excited Brain Cells
Dopamine - Body's Reward Mechanism, Makes Tasks Seem Less Daunting
Norepinephrine - Supports Blood Pressure, Promotes Focus
Tranquility Labs' Focusene helps clear chatter in the brain so that you can focus on the task at hand. Instead of avoiding situations, you'll meet them head-on with clarity and determination.
Return to Normal with These Social Skills Training Techniques
The pandemic allowed us to slow down. However, we didn't stop moving forward.
Returning to normal after reopening isn't a pause or step backward. It's a new opportunity to improve social skills, effective communication, and conflict resolution.
Now that you know how to improve social skills, start implementing these techniques. Get out of your head and be honest about boundaries. Talk to a mental health professional and start honing your social skills.
The return to normal can be stressful, don’t deny your feelings
Speak to a mental health professional if you are having trouble transitioning
Work on your social skills training to improve your communication
BONUS RECIPE: Skillet Eggs with Spinach and Cauliflower
1 heaping cup cauliflower florets (Aim for ¾”-1” florets.)
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup tomato sauce
1 packed cup baby spinach (or greens of your choice)
1 ounce feta cheese, crumbled
Fresh herbs for serving (optional)
-Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.
-Roast for 20-25 minutes until the florets are tender and browned in spots. (I like my cauliflower very brown, but you do you.)