Coping with 'Re-Entry' Anxiety

As more Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19, the return to a more normal way of life is in sight.

As more Americans are vaccinated against Covid-19, the return to a more normal way of life is in sight. This is what we’ve been hoping for, but the transition to “re-entry” will bring its own challenges.

It’s not like you can flip a switch and immediately return to your pre-pandemic life. After a year spent mostly in isolation, activities that used to be part of your daily schedule, from driving a car to participating in group social activities, may feel strange and overstimulating.

If you haven’t driven much since the pandemic began, your reaction times may have decreased. If you haven’t been socializing in person, basic conversations may require more effort. Even going to a grocery store in person can feel overwhelming if you haven’t done it in a while. These aren’t signs that something is wrong with you. This is a natural reaction, and you are not alone. If you are a parent, keep in mind that post-pandemic adjustments can be hard on kids, too.

Don’t rush into things. If you sense your anxiety level rising, allow yourself time to process what you’re feeling. Take deep breaths, and be mindful of the fact that we are living in unusual times. Remind yourself that you will get through this.

Be aware that the pandemic may have taken a toll on your mental health. If you’ve noticed your brain doesn’t seem to be working as well lately, the pandemic could be to blame. A recent New York Times article explains how lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic can affect everything from executive functioning to memory.

Focus on building resilience. People who are resilient have an easier time adapting to change, and developing your resilience may help you manage any post-pandemic anxiety.        

  • Talk to your friends and family about what you’re experiencing. Resilience isn’t about “bouncing back” on your own. In fact, recent research shows that we become more resilient through the process of connecting with others in our personal and professional lives.
  • Take care of yourself mentally and physically. You know it’s essential to eat right, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep—and it’s just as important to be patient with yourself when you’re feeling anxious. Read more mental health tips.
  • Get professional help if you need it. Take advantage of all the mental health resources available to you. If you have a counselor, discuss your concerns with them. If you need help connecting with someone, Better Health Advisors can help.
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