Are you anxious about re-entering the world, now that COVID restrictions are starting to lift? If you are, you're not alone. I'm a physician and have been having some anxiety about this very thing myself.
In many ways, it's understandable why some of us feel anxious. For over a year we have been hunkering down indoors, avoiding crowds and outdoor activities, and generally keeping to ourselves. Many of us have been working from home and have developed a "pandemic routine" that we've settled into quite nicely.
Now, our pandemic routine may change. We may have to start working outside the home and eating at restaurants, spending time with others, and "going out" are becoming options.
So, how can we deal with the anxiety that comes with re-entering society?
1. Go Slow
Rome wasn't built in a day. Likewise, you're not expected to jump back into the world all at once. Start slow. Head to your local park for a few hours, go for a walk, visit a favorite store you haven't been to in the last year or schedule an outing with a friend. Just pick one thing to try and start there. Then gradually increase your activity. Remember, the activities you choose and whether you wear a mask or not should be based on CDC guidelines for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, so please use this as a guide.
2. Get Your Questions Answered
If you're not sure what activities are acceptable for you based on your personal risk level, make sure you touch base with your doctor. Ask your doctor and review your level of risk as well as the current CDC guidelines. This may help you feel more at ease about what activities you are able to enjoy.
3. Talk to Others
When I said earlier that "you're not alone," I really mean that YOU'RE NOT ALONE! Many others feel the way you do. It might help to discuss your feelings with those you trust and feel comfortable with- they might have some of the same feelings. This can also serve as motivation to start slowly trying out some activities.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can be particularly helpful in this situation. Here are some great resources for practicing mindfulness:
5. Seek Help
If your anxiety starts to feel like too much, please seek out medical care. Talk to your doctor- we can help.
Hope this is helpful,
Dr. Jen Caudle is a Family Doctor & Associate Professor at Rowan University, an On-air health expert, and a video creator. Please sign up for her free newsletter and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for daily health videos. Purchase comfy and stylish COVID vaccine shirts (and donate to the Red Cross by doing so) here.