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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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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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 :)


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