In a post-pandemic world, does the following situation sounds familiar? Let’s say you’re fully vaccinated and so is your closest friend. Your community has low COVID numbers. Your friend invites you to dinner at an outdoor restaurant. Although you haven’t seen her in person in over a year and should feel excited, you just feel anxious and stressed. Your mind starts down a path of “what ifs”. You decide to decline your friend’s invitation and instantly feel better staying in the protection of your own home.
If this situation hits a chord, you’re probably experiencing some COVID “reentry anxiety”, aka anxiety about returning to your typical daily activities post-pandemic. We just spent the last year living in fear of doing things that could put us or our loved ones at risk of getting COVID-19. The length of time we lived through these changes, combined with fear, means it won’t be easy to just pivot and go back to “business as usual”. Here are a few ways you might be experiencing reentry anxiety after COVID quarantine:
- Being unable to enjoy yourself while you’re in public places because you’re focused on your fears.
- Avoiding invitations to do things you used to enjoy with friends and family.
- Feeling like socializing isn’t worth it when you feel so much anxiety when you go out.
- Experiencing symptoms of anxiety and panic, such as nausea and sweating, feeling short of breath, jittery or lightheaded
There are a number of options to help with your feelings of anxiety, such as: maintaining a lower daily stress level through exercise and meditation; connecting with one or two people in a quieter, more remote location; or exposing yourself incrementally to your fears and advancing to the next level of exposure once you experience improvement. Most of all, be kind and patient with yourself (keep moving in baby steps!) and don’t be afraid to seek outside help if you feel like your anxiety is getting worse.
There are so many reasons why people are dealing with reentry anxiety and everyone is acclimating to a return to normal life and activities differently. It’s going to take some time to undo the feelings of fear we’ve been experiencing. If you’ve been reevaluating your priorities over the past year and would like to work with a coach that can help you move forward, Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.