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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79 Comments

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edney May 20, 2021 07:10 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Because leaders have been doing whatever they wanted from day one for political reasons.
Trump blocks China travel
Countered by
Pelosi encourages people to attend Chinese New Year, maskless, hugging people.

Social distance/Don't travel
Hundreds of instances of politicians traveling, eating at restaurants, boating, flying, issuing no travel directives from their Cabo condo.
Fauci goes to a baseball game with two friends is seen maskless and all are less than 3 feet away

Masks bad
Masks good
Wear two masks
Wear masks when cameras are on
I posted a video of congress above where there are no masks, no distancing. Speaker of the House who just fined 3 members $500 for going maskless is maskless, leaning into peoples faces, shaking hands... next day at the podium she is back to wearing a mask.

I really don't want any of them to tell me what to do. They act like its an HOA where when you bought in you signed away your rights

edney May 20, 2021 06:41 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Because leaders have been doing whatever they wanted from day one for political reasons.
Trump blocks China travel
Countered by
Pelosi encourages people to attend Chinese New Year, maskless, hugging people.

Social distance/Don't travel
Hundreds of instances of politicians traveling, eating at restaurants, boating, flying, issuing no travel directives from their Cabo condo.
Fauci goes to a baseball game with two friends is seen maskless and all are less than 3 feet away

Masks bad
Masks good
Wear two masks
Wear masks when cameras are on
I posted a video of congress above where there are no masks, no distancing. Speaker of the House who just fined 3 members $500 for going maskless is maskless, leaning into peoples faces, shaking hands... next day at the podium she is back to wearing a mask.

I really don't want any of them to tell me what to do. They act like its an HOA where when you bought in you signed away your rights

dukemunson May 20, 2021 06:38 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Well... Because Governor newsome has arbitrarily said that we should wear masks till June 15. The cdc says our situation doesn’t dictate masks... but our fearless leader is still mandating them.

LooseCannon May 20, 2021 05:53 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

If you're fully vaccinated, you are unable to transmit COVID to another human being. There is a tiny chance you may become infected, but with very minimal, non-life-threatening symptoms. Do you not read the papers (New York Times, other credible news organizations)? Do you not listen to NPR? So who's the COVIDIOT now?

a-1621556643 May 20, 2021 05:24 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

How is the mask protocol against the CDC guidelines, which state "except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance "? Our community case rate is still in the orange tier. Why do covidiots whine so much about something so trivial that potentially saves lives and reduces illness?

LooseCannon May 20, 2021 05:12 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

I don't feel anxious at all. Never did. Now fully vaccinated.

Coerced into socially distancing and wearing masks for 15+ months for the sake of the elderly, the sick and the morbidly obese (people who never gave a crap about me during 2+ years of homelessness), still having to wear one thanks to this idiotic extension of the mask mandate (which has no medical/epidemiological rationale for fully-vaccinated people),

You're welcome.

LooseCannon May 20, 2021 06:09 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

A well-functioning society is one in which we care for each other.

Everyone, including the homeless and poor, are encouraged to wear masks for the common good.

In a reciprocal situation, affluent people should care about the welfare of the poor and homeless. If they don't care about, they have no right to express outrage when the wretched of the earth refuse to wear masks (to save your a$$).

That's the connection, Alex. I bet you can't wait for life to go back to normal, so you comfortable people can resume normal activities, and not care about the homeless, masked or otherwise.

Alexblue May 20, 2021 05:34 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

I don't feel anxious either. One thing I'm not clear on--why do fat people owe you more than thin people? And what does you being homeless have to do with anything?ally,

Person, I'm on the thin side, and pretty sure I also don't owe you squat.

ginger1 May 20, 2021 02:58 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Get a grip, people. The number of new "cases" on the south coast today is 2. Yesterday was 1. Day before was 2. Number of active cases recovering is 12. That is out of 250,000 people living in 120 sq miles. Chances of bumping in to someone sick with covid? Pretty much a needle in haystack. No one has passed away in three weeks. There is for all intent and purposes NO covid in the Santa Barbara area. That is thanks to the reality of vaccination. If you are vaccinated, the chances of getting covid is zero. If you are not vaccinated the chances are still pretty close to zero. So keep up with the theater and angst if you want.

The Big Fear will happen on June 15, a nice arbitrary date based on no science at all when California removes all covid related restrictions. Back to normal. If you feel the need, or if for some medical reason really do need to mask up, feel free. But do not expect the rest of us to do so, but we should respect your fear, even if not justified.

edney May 20, 2021 02:54 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

What you think of me is not my business. Its yours. Please try to handle it with honest self reflection and without blame, shame or tattling.
We spent 14 months following the science and now we find the "science" in many instances was wrong, misguided, or even outright lies (example: the early white lie that masks didn't work to keep people from hoarding masks).
The science people claimed Florida and Texas opening up was neanderthal thinking, and murder. They were wrong.
Schools in Florida have been open since Sept. 1 2020 and provide a wealth of scientific data that opening schools has been safe for children and so bad for adults and teachers
https://ballotpedia.org/School_responses_in_Florida_to_the_coronavirus_(COVID-19)_pandemic_during_the_2020-2021_school_year#School_responses_timeline
Texas data shows that the children were safe, their parents were able to go back into the workplace and while some adults some did contract COVID and the rise in adult COVID rates reflected national trends.

One of the things science has not done well is to establish whether COVID events were due to correlation or causation.
Also the scientists and experts didn't help their credibility by telling us civil disorder events were not possible superspreaders, but your kids 4y.o. birthday party was. Regardless to political pursuasion, its is painfully obvious that a crowd is a crowd. That the higher purpose of BLM crowd does not and cannot mitigate viral spread mechanisms is science at its simplest. A virus cannot care about your character, your purpose for being in its space, the momentum of a virus is towards another host before the current carrier dies or gets well.

Shmonk May 20, 2021 11:01 AM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

"Consider practicing deep breathing or other relaxation techniques so that you are prepared in case you find yourself in a public setting, feeling anxious"

My god. The neuroses of some ppl amaze me.

PitMix May 20, 2021 12:18 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

My god, the insensitivity of some people amazes me.

If you don't need those techniques, great for you. If other people need them, it doesn't impact me at all. Live and let live.

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.

dukemunson May 20, 2021 03:47 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Bosco...except they didn't between Florida and California. Look at the population that actually dies from COVID (the elderly are 95% of COVID DEATHS).

California had 70% more COVID deaths in the over 65 age demo with only 33% more of that demo in the population. So on per 100k basis, California lost more older people! We're just padding our stats by having less older people.

46,638 people in California over the age of 65 have died from Covid
27,045 people in Florida over the age of 65 have died from Covid

bosco May 20, 2021 03:36 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Another way to look at it is overall case and death rates since the start. This takes spikes out of the equation. Based on the CDC numbers (per 100k):

Case Rate:
Florida = 10, 506
Texas = 10,902
California = 9,281

Death Rate (per 100k):

Florida = 168
Texas = 172
California = 155

In summary. Florida and Texas (two States with a much more open approach to CA) did about 8-13% worse than California in infections and Deaths per capita over the course of the pandemic. Whether that is a significant amount or not is up to debate. I'd say you're both right. It certainly looks like California's restrictions did help but maybe not as much as people would like to believe.

sacjon May 20, 2021 02:15 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

AHCHOOO - you're right, poor choice of words. I do know a few though who, even vaccinated, are hesitant to even meet outside with others. I think that is a bit beyond prudence. Yes, this was a traumatic time for all. I'm just hoping we can all get out and enjoy life once again. I know some are having a tough time letting go of the past and how, now armed with hindsight, we did "everything wrong" and that we're still instilling fear and paranoia, etc etc, but I hope even the miserable whiners can put down their keyboards, quit crying about the past and just get out and be normal again. Sadly, I fear some will spend their entire summer clinging to and complaining about the past. Move on and go have fun!

dukemunson May 20, 2021 01:59 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Sac - I agree to an extent but, and this is a big one for me (and I had thought for you)...in addition to quite a few less people losing their job or business, they kept schools open in Florida, they didn't steal that year from our kids! In fact here in California many MANY schools are still closed as they completely punted and decided to just stay closed till the FALL. Last I saw California was still at less than 50% of kids back in full time school.

Ahchooo May 20, 2021 01:52 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Sacjon, I take issue with your use of the word “cower.” —Perhaps you were just being hyperbolic.— But I just want to be clear that following the guidelines, even the more challenging ones, was not about fear for a lot of us. Of course it was alarming when people were dying by scores in Italy, then New York, and now in India. Here in SB, caution seemed prudent, but I felt pretty confident that I could protect myself. I bring this up only because some of the more trolly people on Edhat (not you) like to belittle people who take precautions. But we can take precautions without being moved to it by fear and anxiety.

Voice of Reason May 20, 2021 01:23 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

By not destroying their economy, not bankrupting small businesses, not forcing many to loose their jobs, and not closing schools while simultaneously supporting their citizens with recommendations and accurate up-to-date information on how to go about their lives in a safe manner - with similar overall covid stats (while having an older population) Florida DID DO IT BETTER! Meanwhile, here in CA most schools are still not open full-time and vaccinated people are still mandated to wear masks because.... well it certainly isn't science....it's politics!

sacjon May 20, 2021 01:13 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

Duke - CA has lower daily/weekly numbers than FL right now. FACT. And.... I NEVER SAID CA WAS DOING BETTER THAN FL. how many gottdam times to I need to say that???? My ONLY point has been that Florida is not doing better at fighting covid than CA.

dukemunson May 20, 2021 12:48 PM
Normal to Feel Anxious Easing into Life After COVID-19

And come on Sac...you and I both know you aren't done. Look at the CDC data though:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid_weekly/index.htm

46,638 people in California over the age of 65 have died from Covid
27,045 people in Florida over the age of 65 have died from Covid

How did we do better again...?

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.

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!!!

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 12:15 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.

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 12:08 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).

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.

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 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!

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!

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 11:31 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.

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.

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...

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?

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