Feeling Anxious About a Return to “Normal” and Going Back in Public?

If you are experiencing anxiety about returning to normalcy post-COVID and going back in public, you’re not alone.

Taking step to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 helped to keep our families and communities safe, and as vaccination rates increase, an end to the pandemic is in sight. However, after a year of making careful decisions, even if you’re vaccinated, it may be a challenge to interact with people in person again.

“Whether it’s stepping back in public or stepping into your office building, it’s important to give yourself time to adjust,” said Tisha Bayless, Supervisor, at Memorial Behavioral Health. “This past year has been truly traumatic and many times we may not fully become aware of the impact of this trauma until the trauma either begins to subside or has fully subsided. As much as we’d like to, we can’t always bounce back as quickly as we’d like after such a long-term threat to our safety and wellbeing.”

Memorial Behavioral Health offers these tips to help you transition back to going in public after you are vaccinated:

  • Take it step-by-step. Avoid making your first trip out to a crowded place. Not only because it is not recommended, but also because it is healthier to take gradual steps towards change.
  • Get support from others. Whether it’s your spouse, a friend, a colleague or a neighbor, ask someone to join you as you go back out and check in with one another to see how you’re both doing.
  • Get help. If you have anxiety that is debilitating and beyond your control, seek professional help. A mental health professional can work with you to develop a plan and coping mechanisms to adjust to post-pandemic life.

“As we move forward, it will take time to adjust,” Bayless continued. “Anxiety just doesn’t disappear because we want it to. Just like we had to become creative to find new ways of coping over the past year, we now must become creative as we begin the process of reintegrating ourselves into social situations.”

Need to talk?

Memorial Behavioral Health provides telehealth and phone appointments with their patients. In addition, MBH has established a free and confidential emotional support hotline, available at 217-588-5509 to provide support to individuals who are experiencing anxiety or stress, even if they are not MBH patients.

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