Life has changed a lot since March 2020. Millions of Americans have endured a global pandemic, including mass death, disruption of routine, loss of jobs and wages — not to mention all the emotional ups and downs of being at home all the time. However destabilizing and exhausting the last year has been, many find themselves caught off guard by feelings of re-entry anxiety.
Quarantine restrictions will continue to lift as more and more people are vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will have an easy transition back to normal. If you find yourself anxious about the prospect of returning to your pre-pandemic routines, you’re not alone.
The Best Thing to Do Is Start
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it. If you’ve been mostly stuck inside throughout the pandemic, start by taking a walk around your neighborhood. If you feel comfortable with that, push the boundaries a little bit. Perhaps you can invite a masked friend to walk with you or enjoy a drink on the porch with someone you haven’t seen in a while. Professionals call this “exposure therapy.”
The more you are exposed to the thing you fear, the more you can confront the source and build up your confidence to try new activities.
Don’t Put Off Re-Entry
It’s of the utmost importance to adhere to the recommended CDC guidelines; however, fully vaccinated individuals are paving the way to safe re-entry into society. As mentioned above, you can begin your transition back to normal in small but significant ways. The longer you put off getting back to normal, the more difficult it will be. You may find yourself surprised that you’re less anxious than you thought you’d be once you’ve gotten back on the proverbial horse.
Part of the philosophy of not pushing off re-entry is looking at the big picture. If you’ve been struggling with your mental or physical health throughout the pandemic, it’s a big step towards healing to prioritize self-care and getting back to the things you enjoy.
Don’t Do It Alone
Many Americans created small “pods” during the pandemic to share child care responsibilities and keep each other company. If you know someone struggling with similar re-entry anxieties, invite them to work through it with you. You can support each other as you navigate the unknowns and relate to each other’s anxieties. It’s always helpful to lean on your support network when you are struggling.
Seek Out Professional Help When You Need It
Sometimes solidarity from your peers is enough to help you feel supported through the difficult times, but it’s okay to admit professional help is warranted. No matter the source of your re-entry anxiety, there is a therapist out there to help you take charge of your goals and feel more like yourself.
Keep in mind that the global pandemic has forced everyone to make unexpected adjustments, confront complicated feelings, and deal with stress that no one saw coming. For more information about our individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy options, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team today!