There is no right way to react to return to “normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic, and life may look far from normal still. Whether you feel ready to reenter the world, are experiencing intense anxiety after more than a year of lockdown and quarantines, or fall somewhere in between, give yourself the space to explore your emotions about returning to the office, sending your children back to school, or other changes that might come with lifted COVID restrictions.
Uncertainty during a time like this is normal, but there are things you can do to both relieve anxiety and embrace uncertainty.
Practice mindfulness through meditation and self-care
Eating nutritious foods, exercising, regular relaxation, and positive social connection are just some of the habits you can turn to when emotions and feelings are overwhelming. Find a guided meditation on YouTube or download a meditation app to tune into. With regular practice and check ins with your body and mind, anxiety-related thoughts and feelings can be easier to manage. Don’t take on too many new habits at once; choose one or two that you want to work on and set goals for yourself. Regular acts of self-care can provide clarity during stressful events and will help you long-term.
Discuss boundaries with family and friends
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many social restrictions were put in place to stop the spread of the virus. You might not be ready for large gatherings or returning to your favorite restaurants and bars depending on your vaccination status and general anxiety about COVID. Wearing a mask around others in close quarters is okay, too, if you’re unsure of the vaccination status of others, such as children under 12.
You can choose what you are ready for and when, but keep in mind what scientists and other trusted experts are saying about COVID: If you’re vaccinated and interacting with other vaccinated people, the odds are extremely low of contracting COVID. Seeing friends and family is vital to managing stress and anxiety, so make plans with loved ones when you can.
Seek professional help or support groups
If you’re unsure of how to manage anxiety, stress, or grief, don’t hesitate to find outside support. You are not alone in worrying about the outcomes of the pandemic. At Valley Oaks Health, we provide a number of counseling options and other COVID-19 related resources.