As the United States vaccination rate increases and covid rates decreases, getting back to normal seems closer than ever. An intriguing phenomenon is occurring though. A majority of people are feeling nervous or some form of anxiety when they come across the thought of working in person or attending school in person again.
Let’s explore why that is and how we can combat it below.
Why Post-Covid Anxiety
Over the last year and a few months, we have looked at our home as the ultimate safety net. Our homes is the only place that we were able to take off our masks, be able to talk in close proximity, and live life before the pandemic even occurred. We have conditioned ourselves to see that our homes are the only and ultimate safe space.
Now, as we begin to be nudged towards living life pre-pandemic again, these ideologies we’ve constructed during the pandemic start being challenged and our internal alarms go off. Since we learned to be afraid of eating in a restaurant, for example, our bodies and minds are stuck in that still and constantly highlighting doubts.
How to Fight Post-Covid Anxiety
However, just as we have learned to be fearful, we can learn to trust again. Below are a few tips on how to gradually and safely re-enter the post-COVID world:
Make sure to reward brave behaviors. If you are feeling anxious but push yourself to face your fears, whether small or big, reward yourself. This is an act of positive reinforcement.
When you are planning on reintroducing yourself to the post covid world, notice what you are thinking and write it down. What we are thinking has a huge impact on our experience and we must remember that our thoughts and feelings are not facts. What we feel may not be the truth and we need to separate that.
Reminisce on life before the pandemic, and write down what you miss most, what you enjoyed most, and which you will look forward to. Focus on the positive from here on out.
Seek support from friends and family. Talk to someone near you about what you’re going through. Surprisingly, they may relate and help you reduce the level of anxiety associated with the situation.
Seek support from a mental health professional. If the post-covid anxiety you feel is severe or unmanageable, seek support from a professional so they can assist you in being reintroduced to society again. They may offer solutions or ways to fight the anxiety daily until you overcome it.
Resources: “Anxiety and Anticipation: Rejoining a Post-COVID World” by Katherine Kam
“How to manage post-covid anxiety” by Gabrielle Avery-Peck, PhD