Post Pandemic Anxiety is Real, and Here’s How to Handle it
During the pandemic, we all just wanted things to go back to normal. We wanted to go back to work, a concert, a movie, or anything social. With vaccines having more availability now, we are on the road to getting there. Businesses are opening up without the requirement of wearing a mask, and we can finally start doing the things we missed. So how come we don’t feel more relieved?
We have been social distancing and wearing a face mask for over a year. That was the new normal. We have been taught for over a year that anyone can potentially transfer the COVID-19 virus. This made it challenging to be around strangers and even the people we trust, like friends and family.
But just because we are closer to going back to our pre-pandemic lives, that doesn’t mean our minds are at the same point. Post-pandemic anxiety is real, but it doesn’t have to last forever. To go through the new world with ease, it’s important to learn more about your anxiety so you can take steps to treat it.
Once you start socializing at work or with your loved ones, you’ll need to re-train your brain not to worry about socializing with those not wearing a mask. We used to look at others without a mask in suspicion because they could potentially be carriers. Now we have to switch back, and it takes a lot of effort for our brains to look at those wearing masks and see that as normal.
The transition to going back to having our faces uncovered can be difficult. Even though things are changing, you might not feel ready to switch back. In fact, a lot of people are struggling with the sudden transition, and aren’t necessarily eager to unmask or go out frequently.
With all of the tragedy that occurred to you or others last year, you may be feeling guilty about moving forward. Some may feel that feeling happy means ignoring the pain of last year. But, even if the world is going back to how it was before, the trauma still stays with many people.
This has left behind feelings of guilt about being healthy while others were not or still having your job and house. Instead of feeling grateful for what you have, you feel conflicted instead. Whatever you’re feeling guilty about, remember that some things are out of your control, and it’s okay to feel gratitude or happiness during this time.
Getting back to your normal social activities can cause a lot of anxious thoughts may surface. But it’s important to acknowledge them instead of pushing them aside. Start by asking yourself how comfortable you are in the present moment and what you need. For example, if
you are uncomfortable with a large crowd, ask your friend how many people will attend this gathering. Then you can decide if you are comfortable going with the boundaries you place.
Think of What the Pandemic Taught You
If you are looking for closure, think hard about what you learned during the pandemic. For example, maybe the pandemic taught you to wash your hands more. Maybe you learned the importance of covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze to prevent the spreading of germs. By assigning meaning to your anxious feelings, you will be calmer in a post-pandemic world.
It is unpredictable what is to come next as we are all figuring out the post-pandemic world. So when you are feeling overwhelmed, focus on what you have right now and cherish it instead of feeling guilty.
Remind yourself how strong you are and that we are all in this together.