Exploring Proximity Panic

We have been cooped up in our houses for over a year, and anytime that we went out, we were told to keep our distance from others and ensure that we didn’t touch anybody unnecessarily. It was tough, to begin with, but something that we all got used to. 

Now, seemingly as quickly as we were told to keep our distance, we are being told that we can go out into the world again with next to no restrictions and that keeping our distance just isn’t as important as before. 

While some people have been anxiously waiting for this day, many others are a little nervous about it. 

What Is Proximity Panic? 

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For the past year and a bit, we have been reading terrifying headlines each week telling us of all the things going wrong because of the Coronavirus Pandemic and everything that has come along with it. 

Many people have become anxious about leaving their homes and seeing people. Many people have developed social anxiety where they did not exhibit those traits before. This is not strange, considering the circumstances, though. 

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Proximity panic is the anxiety that you might feel from going out in public and not having to social distance. What makes proximity panic worse is that you cannot control other people’s actions, and while you might be wearing a mask and keeping your distance, other people might not be. 

For many people, the unknown factor of other people’s behavior is what is causing proximity panic. If you are feeling proximity panic, we have a couple of ways to help you cope with all of it. 

How To Cope

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Going at your own pace when you begin going out again is the most important thing that can help you to adjust to social interactions and overcome the proximity panic that you may be feeling. 

You may not have been out very much in the past year, but that doesn’t mean that you need to say yes to every plan that gets made by your mates. Take it slowly and only say yes to plans that you really want to go to. 

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Don’t compare yourself to others that you see on social media. Of course, everybody will post themselves having a good time and living their lives, but what you might not realize is that those people are also anxious. 

It is important to note that other people feel many of the same feelings you are feeling, but nobody is posting that onto social media. Try to see past the smiles and cocktails, and do not compare yourself to others. 

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Go out. This might seem counterintuitive to you, but going out and getting some social interaction will make a world of difference to your proximity panic and help you overcome the feelings. 

Start small and go out once every two weeks and then increase the frequency so that you begin to get used to going out again and can go out and feel comfortable more frequently. 

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Relax. You need to take time out of your week to ensure that you are relaxing and checking in with yourself to recharge your social batteries and don’t burn out too quickly when you do go out. 

Doing this will ensure that when you do go out, you are well equipped to deal with all the feelings you might feel and know when it is time for you to go home. 

The Bottom Line

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There is no right way to start going out again, and it will all depend on what you are comfortable with and the feelings you experience at the moment. You must check-in with yourself. 

You are the only person who knows exactly what you need, and you must know how to deal with your feelings, so take the time to find out what you need and apply it to your situations.

Written By:
Daniella Segell

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