How to Ease COVID-19 Re-Entry Anxiety
COVID-19 ‘Re-Entry Anxiety’ is a common and understandable reaction to change and uncertainty.
With many lockdowns now lifted and restrictions surrounding travel borders beginning to ease, many people are hard at work filling their social calendars. However, for some, returning to society as we once knew it, is bringing along much unwanted anxieties.
While we are optimistic and looking forward to emerging back into the world after such a long period, gradually reintegrating into society may not be as easy as we imagined. So much so, that a new term for this response has been coined – ‘COVID-19 Re-Entry Anxiety’.
While its only natural to feel hesitant, it’s inevitable that at some point, we must return to normal living. With quarantine restrictions gradually lifting and more individuals being vaccinated, there are a few ways that we can ease ourselves back into society without suffering COVID-19 Re-Entry Anxiety.
Recognise how you’re feeling: It’s natural to be both excited and afraid about the future. This is completely normal. However, don’t be too hard on yourself over how you’re feeling. Everyone’s level of risk is different, and you are entitled to be cautious, therefore it’s OK if you don’t feel as excited as your family and friends regarding the lifting of lockdown and other limitations.
Start slowly: Don’t rip off the band aid all at once! If you haven’t left the house much in the last year, it would be wise to start small by organising a walk with a few friends or another activity in a quiet location that is not overcrowded. From there, work your way up. You will likely feel more comfortable by gradually confronting your causes of anxiety, exposing yourself to the outside world a bit more each time.
Don’t wait too long: When you’re worried about something, its best to tackle the issue as soon as possible. The more you wait, the more anxious you will likely become. Social isolation can have short-term physical consequences, but it can also have long-term mental health consequences. This isn’t to say you should have a huge party to dive in but try to re-engage in a few meaningful activities you enjoy (while safely following the latest health advice issues).
Think Ahead: Remember all those things that you were no longer able to do for a while? Why not try to spark some excitement and positivity by making a list of all the things you’ve missed and look forward to doing once again? Whether that’s meeting up with family members you haven’t seen for a while, going to a concert or simply just enjoying your morning coffee at a café – having something to look forward to can help you overcome feeling of anxiety.
Follow health advice: While you may be fully vaccinated and now able to enjoy some freedom again, it is still important to follow the advice outlined by the health officials. If you have a health issue that makes you more vulnerable, its essential that you speak with your GP for advice and help on how to cope with reintegrating safely. Regardless, always remember to keep good hygiene and practice good handwashing regularly. If you feel unwell, get tested for COVID and stay home to avoid putting others at risk.
Get support: As mentioned, you are not alone in struggling with feelings of anxiety over the world re-opening. That said, if you feel that your anxiety and negative thoughts are becoming overwhelming and hard to cope with, it may be time to seek professional health. We have a team of online psychologists who are here to help you sort through your emotions while you navigate this difficult period by providing evidence-based strategies. If you would like to book an appointment, please click here or speak with our reception team to learn more on 1800 327 477 (AU) / 0800 327 477 (NZ)
There is no doubt about it that life has changed, and it is changing again. Be sure to move at your own pace, take care of yourself physically and emotionally and if you need any support during this transition phase, you know where to find us for support.