By: Karen Thompson, LMSW, CEAP, CAADC, SAP, EAC Clinical Specialist – The Covid-19 pandemic has been anxiety-provoking for most people in one way or another. We have all had to adjust to a new normal in both our work and personal lives. Even as more people receive vaccinations, we can still feel a sense of uncertainty about the pandemic. It is also common to feel a bit out of practice with socializing and being more active in the community. According to a new report from the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly 50% of Americans report they feel anxious about resuming in-person activities post-pandemic. Anxiety about returning to normal life following the pandemic is a condition that has been described as “re-entry anxiety”.
Many people have started to become habituated to a new way of life, much of which has been spending more time at home. Home has become our comfort zone – a place to feel safe during this pandemic. Even while the pandemic is still ongoing, we are being asked to transition again and resume activities that require more interactions with others in work or social situations. Most people are experiencing some degree of re-entry anxiety as we begin to navigate our attempts to resume normal life activities.
Here are 4 tips to help with the re-entry process:
- Take a Gradual Approach. Start by taking small steps to resuming activities and easing back into reconnecting with others. Starting with low risk activities such as meeting outdoors or getting together with one or two friends.
- Acknowledge your Anxiety. It is important to be compassionate with yourself during this time. Use relaxation skills and mindfulness to manage your anxiety.
- Recruit a Partner. Just like having a partner to help with exercise or weight loss goals, taking steps to be more social can be easier with the support of a friend or family member.
- Reach out for Help. If you find your anxiety is holding you back too much, seek support and guidance from a professional counselor. Your employee assistance program is an excellent resource for solution-focused counseling that can help get you back on track and manage anxiety as you move forward.