With the introduction of the vaccine, the restrictions have eased and life is starting to return to normal. While many people are excited about these developments, many are also afraid. If you are struggling with post-pandemic and re-entry anxiety, you are not alone.
The Household Pulse Survey estimates that between April 23, 2020 and July 21, 2020, between 27% and 33% of Americans showed symptoms of an anxiety disorder From January 6, 2021 to March 29, 2021, national anxiety levels were still flat Range from about 29% to 36%.1 Although the physical health threats from the virus may be decreasing in the United States, anxiety levels remain high.
How to deal with post-pandemic fear
Although the initial fear of the pandemic decreases, new fears and stressors increase. The pandemic resulted in months of social isolation and little human interaction. Well, the idea of socializing, going back to work and being in large crowds again makes some people pause.
Do not worry. Our behavioral physicians give some tips on how to deal with anxiety after COVID that could make getting back into the job a little easier.
1. Realize your fear
The coronavirus pandemic has been an emotional roller coaster ride for everyone. It’s okay to feel triggered when you get too close to someone or when you are in a large crowd. Allow yourself to see what you are feeling so you can focus on how to overcome the fear of re-entry and how to minimize these symptoms.
2. Start slowly
Give your mind and body some time to adjust. You may be fed up with being stuck at home, but jumping into things right back could add to your post-pandemic anxiety. Instead, start slowly. Hang out with some close, vaccinated friends or start having more outdoor adventures where there are fewer crowds.
3. Don’t hesitate
Dealing with social isolation during the pandemic wasn’t easy for your mental health, but now being alone can feel like the norm. While it’s hard to get out of your comfort zone, it gets harder the longer you wait. As long as you’re following CDC guidelines, you should start getting back out of it.
4. Focus on the positive
Anxiety is often related to negative and sometimes irrational thinking. Instead of lingering on these thoughts, focus on changing your thinking and perception to be more positive. This approach may include stopping checking the news all the time, disconnecting from social media, or taking a minute to examine your negative thoughts as they arise. This change may seem subtle, but it makes a huge difference in how you see the world, your fears, and your behavior.
5. Practice deep breathing
Another great way to deal with post-pandemic fear is to practice breathing exercises. Breathing slowly and deliberately deeply can lead the brain to believe that you are relaxed. If a situation makes you feel overwhelmed or anxious, you can turn to these breathing exercises to calm yourself down and reorient yourself.
6. Practice self-care
Whether you are dealing with anxiety or trying to cope with depression after COVID, practicing self-care can go a long way in improving your mental health. Try to eat healthy, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Making these habits part of your daily routine can greatly improve your overall wellbeing.
7. Get help
Managing anxiety after a pandemic can be overwhelming, and you shouldn’t be doing it alone. If you’re struggling, it may be time to undergo formal anxiety treatment. A therapist or other profession can help you learn how to deal with post-COVID anxiety so that you can look forward to the future instead of just dwelling on it.
It is common to struggle with post-pandemic and re-entry anxiety, but if your symptoms don’t go away, we’re here to help. At Vertava Health, we offer a variety of mental health services to help people regain control of their lives. If you or a loved one needs help, contact us today to learn more and get started.
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