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Learn & Practice

Tuesday Tip: Prepare to Be Social

By The Healthy Minds Team

In this week’s Tuesday Well-Being Tip, we’ll provide a supportive practice to prepare to be social again out in the world.

Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash

Little by little, the world feels like it’s opening up. For some, this means getting vaccinated for Covid-19 and taking small steps to return to a life of face to face social interactions. There’s a lot that will be processed in the future when we look back and reflect on this time in our lives. But for many, the reality of the last year – drastically reducing our physical interactions with friends, family, and the world around us – is leaving us feeling somewhat unsure of how to return. On the extreme end, there may even be anxiety and fear of being in crowds.

While this will surely be a long process that you should treat with care, today we’ll talk about how to start those baby steps, especially when it comes to being social, in person.

How to prepare to see a friend in person, with a bit of kindness meditation.
  • Step 1: Make plans to see a friend in your backyard, go for a walk, or, if safe, dip your toe into activities that used to bring you joy but were prohibited before the vaccinations became more prevalent.

  • Step 2: Find a relaxing and upright position, or whichever position best supports your meditation practice (remember, you can even do this on the go!). Take some slow, deep breaths and relax with each exhalation. Let go of any tension you’re holding in your body and mind.

  • Step 3: Bring the person or people with whom you are socializing to mind. Imagine this person in your mind’s eye and bring forth all of their wonderful qualities. Are they kind? Funny? Always know the right way to comfort you? Bring those qualities to mind. If you’re having trouble, can you think of a particular instance where these qualities were exemplified? Like that one great concert you went to. Or that time they came over to comfort you during a difficult time.

  • Step 4: Notice how it feels to picture these times. How does your body feel when you sense this person’s kindness? What thoughts or emotions arise? Just notice and sit with these feelings.

  • Step 5: Relax for a while and feel your breath again, allowing its natural rhythm to soothe your body. Let go of any images or thoughts. Just rest here for a few moments.

  • Step 6: Gently open your eyes and sit with how you feel. There’s no perfect way to feel in this moment, just relax with your thoughts about this person and bring yourself back to the world.

What you’ve done is remind yourself of this relationship and the joy it brings. You’ve also, hopefully, relaxed into the notion of picking this in person relationship back up, even though time has passed and feelings of anxiety are natural.

Once you’ve enjoyed your social time – bask in the warmth of a fully in-person, social time that hopefully reminds you of the joys of interpersonal relationships and softens the anxiety as we return to this way of life.

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