When Bad Habits Hide in Plain Sight

When it comes to marking moments and memories in my life, I tend to reflect whenever a significant marker comes around. I think about what the world was like in that moment being marked and how I fit into that specific moment. Sometimes I pick and choose what to reflect on, which is what happened last week. Though I haven’t quite sat with the March 2022 of it all (yes, that’s two years of pandemic for us in the States), I’ve come to realize that in those past two years, I’ve created many habits. While some of them have been positive, I’ve also developed negative habits as a result of the pandemic that have increased my anxiety and fear. With the massive way the world has changed in recent years, how can we make sure our habits help us and not hurt us?

Before I continue, I’d like to add a little more context. After years of trying to figure out my social phobias and anxiety, I’d reached a point in 2020 where I was starting to feel comfortable in discomfort. I could go to a friend’s party or larger gathering and handle myself, even though I didn’t know many people there. I was able to enjoy myself at a basketball game without worrying about what all the people around me were doing. And right as I was seeing improvement in social situations, I stopped having them – and the skills I’d learned went right along with them.

Obviously there were (and still are) a million and one things to worry about as a result of this pandemic. Like many others, I did what I could, especially in those early months in 2020, to make sure I was as safe as I could be. It wasn’t until sometime last year that I realized the toll this took on my social skills – or rather, lack thereof. It felt like I’d forgotten how to interact with people, and I didn’t know how to fix it.

Spoiler alert: I haven’t learned how yet. As frustrating as social situations were before the pandemic, they feel almost impossible now. My “go with the flow” attitude was torn to pieces, and I find myself wanting to pick them all up and put them back together.

But in order to do that, I need to understand the habits I’ve fallen into the past two years. There are so many things I’ve fallen into doing to maintain any sense of peace since March 2020, and not all of them are good for my wellness. Which leads to a larger question: how do I figure out what those are?

Once I realized how averse I’d become to social situations and could process why that was, I could start to plan. Plan with how to deal with this issue, and to create a good habit out of the anxiety-induced fear I’d created. What’s helpful in the short-term can sometimes do long-term damage, and coming to that realization was my first moment where I knew I had habits that needed changing. Now, it’s time to figure out how I do that.

Have you ever realized that you’ve developed a habit that didn’t turn out to be all that great? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments!

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