Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

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By Suzanne Grimmesey, MFT, Santa Barbara County, Behavioral Wellness Department

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives, and right now, some are experiencing anxiety over the reopening of our community. As we start to resume some of our previous activities in a safe way, it is natural that this may also create some anxious feelings that need to be worked through.

First and foremost, it is important to understand that some people may be ready to socialize and transition back to previous ways of life more quickly than others.

There may be pressure from friends and family to get out again and to step outside of our comfort zone before some of us are ready to do so.

Here are a few tips to help you safely ease back into life after COVID-19:

  1. Set your own pace and comfort level for resuming activities and seeing friends and family. There is no need to rush back to the way things were and it can be very helpful to take small steps.

  2. It is normal to feel nervous. It may help to talk yourself through these feelings or seek out a professional to process these feelings with you.

  3. Practice getting out in public in way that feels safe for you. Choose activities that do not involve crowds of people; make plans with a friend you feel comfortable setting parameters with ahead of time.

  4. Even though some masking guidelines have been relaxed, you may choose to ask people you are with to wear a mask, stay in an outdoor setting or position your chairs six feet apart. If these actions help you feel safe, you should kindly ask those you are making plans with to adhere to them.

  5. Consider practicing deep breathing or other relaxation techniques so that you are prepared in case you find yourself in a public setting, feeling anxious.  Prepare with these techniques to calm yourself down and prepare a plan to excuse yourself from the situation if needed. Sometimes just planning ahead for a way out of a situation can help us feel more at ease in social situations.

Over the last several months, we have had to learn to live with uncertainty and returning to our activities is another step in this process. Be kind to yourself and know that you will get through this!

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a-1621469805 May 19, 2021 05:16 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

And guess what? Both are still men! Wow! Isn't it beautiful that not only is mental health of veterans and all people a concern nowadays, but also that people of all genders can take part in any activity without being told they are "wrong" by society's made-up standards? Thank you so much for pointing this neat fact out :)

CoastWatch May 19, 2021 05:27 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

WWII was paratroopers... WWI they were in trench warfare and jumping out of trenches with a bayonet /rife across open fields to fight and were also subject to mustard gas and the horrors it caused...

Cadillackid May 19, 2021 06:55 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

I will say this though I never doubted covid 19 or thought it was fake, I know it has been affecting millions of families and people have lost loved ones, my comment was simply for humor and nothing to do with covid, I have been praying a lot over the last year for this to get better and praying for everyone affected by covid 19, and if you’re feeling anxious it’s normal if you’ve lost a loved one or have seen what Covid has done to people, it’s better to just be careful and do what you feel is the safest to do because it absolutely does affect EVERYONE in a different way, we don’t all have the same exact immune system, but live life how you feel you should, wear a mask of you want

bosco May 20, 2021 10:18 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

CAD, you say "live life how you feel you should" and in an earlier post here you are mocking others. So what is it; let people live or judge others?

It's amazing how the religious ones are always the most hypocritical.

Shasta Guy May 19, 2021 06:56 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

We have been having people over inside and out, vaccinated or not for a while now. Trust the science of the vaccines, and don’t become a bitter mask clinger. Only if you are not vaccinated do you need to tread carefully. If you are vaccinated, start living normally again. Hug, shake hands, share meals in your home, be a friend, and be friendly without fear.

a-1621476554 May 19, 2021 07:09 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Keep in mind that people with young children (not eligible for vaccines) and other vulnerable family members, might be more comfortable being more cautious than you. Let them be.

SBSand May 20, 2021 06:29 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

What is sad is that this last year has brought out some of the ugliest in some people, especially in the anonymity of cyberspace. A good thing about this last year is that it has shown the absolute best in others. Thank goodness that the good overshadows the downright nasty of others.

No matter how we all feel about masks, or vaccines, or the government, etc. things WILL need to reopen and we will need to figure out our ways to navigate through this constantly changing world. It would be so cool if people could navigate with compassion, and luckily MOST people will. Sadly, others, including some here, will just be nasty. I can't control you and how you behave and I will wear a mask when I feel like I should. If you judge me I really don't care, but you better stay away from me.

CelesteBarber May 20, 2021 06:58 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Well, I am sooooo ready! Yesterday I purchased 3 tickets (at only $5.00 each plus free popcorn) to take my grandkids to see "ET." There's a Saturday matinee showing at the Arlington Theatre. I am so excited to be back in a darkened movie theatre with my lads about me again. Hello World!!! (And while I am here, be sure to support our movie theatres and Zodo's Bowling Alley. Entertainment venues have been hard hit like everything else this past year. They are safely opening up. Be that good neighbor and patronize them.)

sacjon May 20, 2021 09:57 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

I think some people just think too much. Wear a mask if you're concerned, or don't if you're vaxxed. Wash your hands, keep your distance around unvaxxed people and young kids. LIVE YOUR LIFE. We no longer need to cower at home. I was at a game yesterday and didn't have my mask on, but saw others yards away from anyone else wearing theirs. I didn't feel uncomfortable or distressed, I just thought they chose to wear one, so be it. No need to be anxious, but then again, I don't know others' situations. Bottom line - go out and live, and let others do what they want. Easy.

letmego May 20, 2021 10:21 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

It's a bit weird though. Only a week after being fully vaxxed, my spouse had to travel for work. Being on a plane - weird. Eating indoors - weird. At least I get to ease myself into it a bit more.

Those who were saying "live your life" for 12 months pretty much caused the spikes over the holidays and the ensuing deaths, because "living your life" without the vaccine was stupid.

Voice of Reason May 20, 2021 10:34 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

I know it's easy to blame people LetMeGo, but the "live your life" folk DID NOT cause the winter spike. I take it you didn't pull up the CDC graph I linked yesterday? If the "live your life" folks caused our winter spike, how come the "live your life" states didn't have a spikes after they removed restrictions?

Voice of Reason May 20, 2021 11:17 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Sac, that is flat out 100% wrong. Did you see the giant spike in Florida during the fall/winter after they removed ALL restrictions in September? Oh wait, that was CA that had the giant spike.... after shutting more things down...

sacjon May 20, 2021 11:25 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

VOR - Google "FL covid numbers" and see the timeline with spikes. Do the same for CA. Check out that spike in mid April for Florida....after spring break with no restrictions. Now CA. Yeah, no spike, just a steady decline after ALL states spiked in January after the holidays.

Look, you keep saying TX and FL had no spikes, but it's clear they did. Sure, maybe CA could have done better, but stop with the lies about TX and FL.

sacjon May 20, 2021 11:31 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

VOR - HAHAHA what "giant spike" in CA? There is none. There's a small spike in mid August then a decline and steady numbers until November. FL had a steadily increasing rate from August on. You're looking at the wrong graphs. Or, you don't know what you're talking about.

dukemunson May 20, 2021 11:39 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Interesting graphs actually...we spiked like crazy in late December while Florida had a spike in the Summer (that spiked much higher than ours) and a much less pronounced spike than ours in the winter...

sacjon May 20, 2021 11:57 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

DUKE - the winter spikes were easily comparable. Florida was half ours (15k 7 day to our 35-40K 7 day) with half the population. So, since those 7 day averages were not per 100K (per capita as VOR loves saying), they were pretty much identical.

And with that, I'm done. No more arguing about which state did better. We all screwed up. But.... I will not sit idly by as VOR continues his lies. And now...... adieu, on this one at least!

sacjon May 20, 2021 11:59 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

DUKE - and yes, good point about the summer spike. In mid July, FL hit 11,800+ cases, while CA only hit 9,600+ and, again, had HALF the population. Yeah, Florida nailed it in the summer hahaha!

Voice of Reason May 20, 2021 12:04 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

I provide a link to a very clear chart on the CDC site, you refusing to look at it and spewing your own misinformation isn't arguing. Here is again, select CA and FL, deaths, daily, rate per 100K, https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#compare-trends_newdeathsper100k

sacjon May 20, 2021 12:06 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

VOR - stop backpeddaling. We're not talking about deaths, we're talking about the spikes in cases. You say CA had a "giant spike," and Florida never did. Look at the graphs. You're wrong and I'm done trying to "debate" with you. DONE.

dukemunson May 20, 2021 12:08 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Sac - True enough in the Summer...but we also hit 51,000 on January 8 (and stayed above 40k for per day for a month mid December to mid January) while Florida peaked at 19,000 January 8th (and stayed around 12k for a month).

Voice of Reason May 20, 2021 12:09 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Wait a sec anonymous one, their overall covid stats are very very similar to ours while having a much older population, and they fully reopened back in September while we locked down harder. Their schools have also been open this entire school year. What exactly was "improper" with their response?

ig·no·rant
/ˈiɡnərənt/
adjective
lacking knowledge or awareness in general;

dukemunson May 20, 2021 12:15 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Florida did at least as well as California...and in fact...in every single demographic better! It just so happens they have quite a few more older people...

So...one has to be quite ignorant to think California's response was "proper" as it didn't achieve any measurable additional benefit.

sacjon May 20, 2021 12:39 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

12:34 - don't forget MORE THAN DOUBLE (3,000) the 7 day average of CA (1,300) with HALF the population! "But b-b-b-b-b but but.... FL has more old people, so they're actually winning." BWHAHAHAHA ok ok, I'm done.

dukemunson May 20, 2021 12:41 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

California has lower cases right now...that is true! But over the course of the pandemic we didn't do better...we did worse. We just have less of the 95% of people that die from Covid (the elderly)...so hooray...we're a crappy place to retire and so less people do so here!!!

dukemunson May 20, 2021 12:44 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Sac - And California was triple Florida in pretty much all of December and January. You can ignore the CDC data, but again, who is dying from COVID? Florida, with half the population of California has 4.5 million people over 65 to California's 6 million.

We truly, honestly and definitively did worse.

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