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How to navigate "re-entry anxiety" as the world opens up

June 10, 2021   |   By Jacqui Monahan

Our Behavioral Health Specialist, Lauren Caffee, MSW, CSWA, put together some tips for how to navigate "re-entry anxiety" as more people get vaccinated and the pandemic restrictions are lifted around the world.

After being locked down for a year, it’s normal to be experiencing feelings of anxiety as we begin to get back into the world.  Here are some tips to cope with these feelings:

Ease your way into re-entry

Start with something small like taking a walk outside, perhaps without a mask. Chat with a neighbor while maintaining social distancing. As you feel more comfortable with these interactions, you may find yourself navigating public spaces with more ease such as going to a café with a friend who’s also vaccinated. 

Set boundaries

Share your level of comfort with strangers, family and friends. For example, if someone is getting too close to you, you are allowed to say something like “I would prefer if we stayed farther apart”.
Remind yourself that it’s ok that you’re not doing the same things others are doing, and vice versa (for instance, you may not yet feel comfortable traveling by plane even though your friend is). Each person has to evaluate their own risk tolerance during this time.

Normalize your feelings

As noted before, it’s absolutely OK to be feeling nervous, anxious, or worried about getting back into the community. Try not to judge yourself for feeling this way, rather accept that these feelings are normal and expected. You are not alone.

If the anxiety is negatively impacting your health, well-being and relationships, seek professional support.

 

References:

Beradinelli, S. (2021). Bancroft NeuroRehab. Retrieved from https://neurorehab.bancroft.org/family_resources/coping-with-covid-re-entry-anxiety/

Reynolds, B. (2021). University of California San Francisco. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2021/05/420581/feeling-re-entry-anxiety-expert-advice-navigating-covid-19-reopenings