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 by employers. The reopening of the country, though, comes with some uncertainties and may lead to feelings of re-entry anxiety.
Re-entry anxiety is an overall uneasiness or uncertainty about returning to the way things were before the COVID-19 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.
People cope with anxiety in many ways. If you’re feeling anxious as you transition back to your pre-COVID-19 life, consider the following five coping tips:
Start small. Reintroduce activities slowly and build up to larger interactions. Don’t rush into anything.
Set boundaries. Make sure you know what you’re comfortable doing and let other people know your boundaries.
Focus on what you’re excited to do again. Getting back to normal isn’t going to happen overnight, but having a plan of action can help you feel in control and minimize feelings of hopelessness. Consider making a post-pandemic bucket list to focus on the new possibilities.
Accept that a lot has changed. Acknowledge that circumstances have changed due to the pandemic, whether it be old routines or the people you used to be surrounded by all the time.
Take care of yourself. Set aside ample time to sit back, relax and reset your mind.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, pause and listen to your body. Remind yourself that you are in control. If you find yourself struggling with severe anxiety or anxiety that interferes with your daily life, consider reaching out to a mental health professional. You can also look in your Employee Benefits materials or check with your Human Resources contact to see if you (or your spouse) have an Employee Assistance Plan you can utilize.