Ease off on the pressure!
In my psychotherapy clinic recently, I have been seeing lots of teens and young people struggling with adjusting back to the social demands of matches, trainings, parties and so on.
After many long, difficult months at home with limited contact with other young people, it can be a difficult transition for young people to make!
I suggest that right now we focus on easing back into social interaction with the aim of having fun without any pressure.
Expecting young people who previously loved GAA and soccer training for example, to perform at matches all of a sudden can put enormous pressure on those struggling with anxiety around being back out in the world again.
When we are out of the practice of meeting our peers it is understandable to feel nervous and apprehensive.
We can be afraid of making mistakes, saying the wrong thing and feeling foolish. If we can view this time as practice for meeting other people, this can help to take some of the pressure off.
Nervousness and self-consciousness come from feeling closely watched, judged, and criticised by others. When we have been out of practice for a few months, it is very normal to feel a bit rusty! Keep in mind that like our muscles, our social skill muscles may need some flexing and training for a few weeks to build our confidence.
Getting back out there and meeting friends in a spirit of fun rather than expectation to perform in some way will make this time of transition easier for everyone.