With the COVID-19 vaccine becoming much more widely available across the country, the topic of returning to in-person work, school and other activities is being discussed constantly. However, the country's reopening coincides with the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which accounts for more than half of all COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Returning to pre-COVID life amid this latest development can understandably cause feelings of uncertainty or re-entry anxiety.
What Is Re-entry Anxiety?
Re-entry anxiety is an overall uneasiness or uncertainty about returning to the way things were before the pandemic. This feeling may be triggered when meeting socially with friends and family, going back to the workplace or pursuing other important aspects of social interaction. It might be difficult to get reacclimated, but it’s important to remember that you’re not alone.
Managing Your Re-entry Anxiety
Different people have different coping strategies, but there are some common ways everyone can cope with re-entry anxiety. If you’re feeling anxious as you transition back to your pre-COVID-19 life, consider the following five coping tips:
Start small and gradually build up to more significant social interactions. Don’t rush into anything.
Set boundaries by letting other people know what you’re comfortable with. There’s no need to apologize for not wanting to do something, so clearly explain how you feel and also be respectful of others.
Make a post-pandemic bucket list to shift your thinking from anxious to positive. A lot has changed due to the pandemic, but you can focus on the new possibilities.
Do what makes you happy, even if only for a few minutes each day. It’s important to engage in something fulfilling for yourself regularly.
Take care of yourself and set aside time every day to relax and reset your mind.
Re-entry anxiety can be alleviated when managed in a healthy way. If you’re worried about your mental well-being, reach out to a doctor or mental health professional to ensure that you’re getting the help you need as you make a return to everyday life.