Social Distancing Anxiety and Your Normal, Everyday Life

Social distancing can cause real anxietyWe all want to do the right thing in these uncertain times, but even the simplest tasks can bring on a bout of social distancing anxiety.

I had a post about cooking from pantry staples all teed up for this month. But something happened on the way to that post.

One very anxiety-inducing trip to my local Publix.

Life on the Inside

It feels like everything we knew changed overnight, doesn’t it? Suddenly, coronavirus drove us all indoors, while news reports and social media fuel our social distancing anxiety. Furthermore, as parents, we worry about how our kids are processing it, which is why Tampa Bay Moms put together a guide to resources that can help to quell your COVID-19 concerns.

Plus, we still have to take care of our families’ basic needs. Like, you know, food.

White-Knuckle Grocery Run

Turns out, after two weeks of pantry and freezer cooking, I really needed to restock some things. In order to minimize my time in the grocery, I planned ahead. Made a list. Ordered deli items online. Went just before closing to avoid crowds. And then when I got to Publix, a case of social distancing anxiety hit me square in the face.

This simple trip to the grocery turned into a surreal experience. Never in my life have I been so acutely aware of every single person in my orbit. I avoided aisles with more than one or two people already in them. If someone walked past me, I turned my head and pretended to look at something on the shelf. At one point, I saw a lady wearing yellow kitchen gloves and wished I’d thought of it. Naturally, some of the things I hoped to buy were still out of stock. By the time I got back to my car, I had to just sit there for a moment and take deep breaths.

And of course, when I got home I scrubbed my hands like Lady Macbeth.

Empty shelves due to coronavirus
When all you see are empty shelves? Yep, that’s anxiety inducing.

Working Through Social Distancing Anxiety

This too shall pass, right? We’re all trying our best to ride it out, but sometimes you just have to do your best Elsa and find a way to let it go. Sit in the car and breathe. Have a good cry. Pour a glass of wine. Whatever it takes to make it through.

If you need additional help, the CDC has advice for managing the stress of social distancing.

As for me, I think I’ll send my husband to Publix next time. Oh, and look for that post on cooking with pantry staples. I promise it will happen, social distancing anxiety or not.

Kathy’s family moved to Tampa when she was 5, and aside from a few years at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), she’s never lived anywhere else. She’s Irish by heritage, Greek by marriage, and mom to one brilliant little boy. She’s an avid sports fan and lived her Disney-geek dream as a member of the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel. A former TV producer and PR pro, Kathy now proudly sports the title of stay-at-home mom. Follow her sports-loving, Disneyfied, Tampa-centric antics on Twitter @kathyk671.