Your friends are headed back to the gym and happy hour gatherings. Your mom wants you to join her at the monthly art walk. Your boss is asking when you’ll be back in the office. Everyone seems ready to go back to normal, but you’re not.
As vaccination rates rise and COVID restrictions loosen, some of our clients are suffering with intense anxiety at the prospect of returning to their pre-pandemic lifestyles. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many Americans are not ready to change their pandemic behavior. Our clinical staff have put together some strategies to address the stress and anxiety of this transition period.
Get the facts.
Little is more terrifying than the unknown. If you feel terrified of contracting the virus and you’re vaccinated, do some research! For over a year the media and officials urged the public to take the virus seriously and behave accordingly. It is normal to struggle with what might feel like a rapid return to ‘normal’, but information is your friend. Take comfort in the knowledge that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective. Talk with your primary care provider and read material about the vaccine and virus from reputable sources, such as the WHO and CDC.
Find out what’s causing your stress.
Are you uncertain about returning to normal because you fear the virus, or is there something else going on? Are you dreading returning to the office? Are you stressed about social obligations? Are you apprehensive about your ability to thrive after such an extreme event? The last year radically changed our world. It is normal to feel anxious or stressed about something other than the virus. If your fear of ‘normal’ has less to do with the virus than other aspects of your life and community, that’s okay. Resist the urge to shame yourself for your honesty. Instead, know you are not alone. Others feel similarly, and there are professionals that can help you not only identify the source of your anxiety but establish methods to cope with or overcome those negative feelings.
Take it slow.
You’re entitled to move at your own pace, set boundaries, and follow precautions that make you feel safe. Whether you want to wear your mask, social distance, avoid crowds, or something else, then do it. Be kind to yourself as you make your way through our changed environment.
JFS’s mental health professionals can help you address your stress and anxiety triggers. In addition to in-person (masked) visits, we continue to offer telehealth visits. Get in touch with a JFS therapist today: (504) 831-8475.← Blog