Flash back one year ago, you probably didn’t know what the future held. Thankfully, you made it through quarantine and are ready to get back to living. But even though you’re fully vaccinated and spread rates are low, you’re still feeling anxiety about integrating into society.
Take Baby Steps
Re-entering society is something a lot of people struggle with. Even when reassured by health officials, it can be hard living like you did before COVID. There are so many unknowns, even when you’re vaccinated. In addition, if you already suffer from anxiety, going to the market can be overwhelming.
If you spent the majority of last year in your house, you need to take things slow. Don’t feel obligated to ditch your mask or to stop practicing social distancing. Spend time with a group of friends or family members you know are vaccinated. The goal is to slowly broaden your horizons without feeling uncomfortable. Over time, you can start doing things you used to do, like going to your favorite coffee shop or supermarket.
You also need to start going out more as soon as you can. When you’re feeling scared, it’s natural to want to stay in a safe place. However, the longer you procrastinate, the harder it will be to actually start living normally again.
Think about scenarios you deem safe. Maybe it’s going to the store early in the morning or meeting with only one vaccinated friend at a time. The goal is to slowly put your fears aside and develop a feeling of security out in society. This is especially important if you’re planning on returning to college in the fall.
Attending on-campus classes means facing your fears and also understanding the challenges will have impacts years to come. If you’re apprehensive about returning to school, there are things you can do. In addition to in-person support services offered by your college, you can also find a variety of articles on the importance of mental health services on college campuses.
Know You Aren’t Alone
Struggling post-COVID can make you isolated from your friends. It can also make you feel like living the life you once had may never happen. Even if no one you know feels the same, you aren’t alone. So many people are struggling with getting back to living without trepidation. It’s okay to feel hesitant and not want to jump in with both feet. Just remember to take things slow and not rush into anything you don’t feel ready for.
Focus on the Positive
The pandemic wore you down but now’s the time to focus on the positive. Write a list of all the positive things that you’ve experienced, like getting vaccinated, being able to see your family and friends and return to normal activity. Sometimes, putting your thoughts on paper can help alleviate your fear. That’s not to say your anxiety will completely go away, however, it can help you find ways to reduce the anxiety you feel as you start venturing out.