For a year now, most of us have been unhappy with living a life in quarantine, wondering when the world would finally get back to normal. With vaccines rolling out and most towns and cities reaching herd immunity, society is beginning to open back up.
Now if you are like some Americans, part of you is happy for life to return to normal, and another part of you is experiencing what some psychologists call “re-entry anxiety.” According to a report from the American Psychological Association (APA), nearly 50% of Americans have expressed that they feel some anxiety regarding resuming in-person interactions post-pandemic.
This is a Normal Reaction to a Very Stressful Situation
Mental health experts have suggested there are two groups of people that will most likely experience re-entry anxiety. One of those groups is people who have a lingering fear that they will either catch or help to spread the disease or the new strains of COVID that seem to be cropping up.
The second group are people who feel their social skills have withered while quarantined and may find being around a lot of people and holding their end of the conversation to be very awkward, exhausting and challenging.
It’s important to mention that while you may be feeling anxious about re-entry into society, avoiding social situations will only make your anxiety worse. In fact, experts agree the longer you avoid the thing that makes you anxious, the harder it will be to face it.
What may help is to set small goals for yourself. For instance, you may want to set up small get-togethers with one or two others to start. Don’t feel the need to jump in the deep end right away, slowly acclimatize yourself to start.
Getting Help for Your Anxiety
We’ve all got to remember that we’ve faced a big trauma this past year and we must be gentle with ourselves. Life will feel normal once again. Until then, do the best you can do and ask for help when you need it.
Speaking with a trained therapist can be highly effective for people dealing with stress and anxiety. A therapist can help you navigate your emotions and offer tools to move through the anxiety.
If you’d like to explore treatment options, please get in touch with me. I’d be more than happy to discuss how I may be able to help.