Covid-19 has changed a lot of thing throughout the world. No doubt it’s been a tough year for most people. Now, as we start integrating back into society post-quarantine, many people wonder if we’ll ever get back to feeling “normal”.
Is it possible? Will social distancing and masks become the new social norms that we all must accept?
As many places start Phase two or three of re-opening, it’s quite normal to feel some re-entry anxiety. It’s legit to have concern over the thought of a second or third wave of COVID. Maybe you’re hesitant about getting back to dining in a restaurant. Or you’re concerned at work because hardly anyone is wearing masks anymore.
Some anxious feelings are indeed normal concerning COVID-19, but there are certainly things you can do to calm yourself and stay as safe as you can.
COVID Anxiety: Do You Have It?
There’s been quite a bit of talk about COVID anxiety this year. Almost everyone feels it at times. After all, we’ve been cooped up and walking on eggshells trying to dodge invisible germs when we do go out. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a store and someone’s sneezing or coughing, my eyes get big and I’m thinking, “OMG, I hope they don’t have IT!”
Or worse. When it’s me coughing or sneezing in the store. I hurry to a spot where (hopefully) no one will see or hear me. I don’t need anyone flipping out on me while I’m trying to get groceries.
Essentially, being in crowds now can feel a bit awkward. There’s this underlying fear that COVID is everywhere and it’s coming after us.
You ever feel this way?
If so, you’re definitely not alone. Plenty of people feel this way all around the planet.
Post-Quarantine: How To Re-Enter The World
No doubt quarantine got lonely at times for most people. Isolation has been known to cause quite a bit of anxiety and depression. Even those that have been able to go to work have had to practice social distancing.
Here’s some great advice:
Re-enter the world post-quarantine slowly and methodically. It’s beneficial to get out there and do some socializing again, but be wise about it.
For those who are dealing with COVID anxiety, the following are six tips to help you decrease anxiety and enjoy a more peaceful life.
Sure, you may have cabin fever, but re-entering society post-quarantine should be taken in small steps. As more businesses and restaurants open, feel free to enjoy some time in your favorites. Some people are going all out and having crowded parties at home, but we may not be in the clear for that yet.
As you slowly start getting back into your community routines, the anxiety that you feel should begin decreasing. Of course, practice social distancing and wear your mask. This protects you and others.
Cover Up & Sanitize
We’re all tired of wearing masks and slapping sanitizer on our hands. However, doing this greatly decreasing your chances of catching COVID. And, just in case you have COVID but are asymptomatic, this can help others by preventing you from spreading it.
When you feel more confidence by your choices and actions, your anxiety levels should decrease.
Use Anxiety-Relieving Mantras
A mantra is a positive statement that you repeat to gain some benefit. For anxiety reduction, using a mantra is super helpful. For example, let’s say you’re nervous about getting COVID, but you have to go to work every day. You come into contact with a lot of people throughout the day that could have COVID, so you’re nervous.
Write down several mantras that you can recite regularly to help ease your mind. Here are several great mantras for anxiety:
All is well.
I am safe.
I trust that I will be fine.
My immune system is remarkable at fighting off any infectious germs or viruses!
To be mindful means to be aware of the present moment. It’s being aware of the NOW, which helps you from ruminating about the past or future.
As you re-enter society post-quarantine, take up the practice of mindfulness. Begin to pay attention to your breath as you go about your day. Take slow, deep breaths regularly, concentrating on relaxing every muscle in your body as you do.
If you’re out in the community and you feel your anxiety levels start to soar, take a few minutes and breathe. On the inhale, slowly count to four. Then, exhale slowly to the count of five.
You should start to feel more relaxed as you practice this breathing technique. Repeat this several times and as often as you need.
Take Time To Have Fun
There’s no doubt COVID has caused a lot of grief on multiple levels across the world. The uncertainly of how much longer we’re going to have to deal with this isn’t helpful either.
But don’t forget to have some fun. Whether you’re quarantined at home or you’re out working in the community, dedicate time regularly to doing things you enjoy. Engaging in activities that cause you to feel happy is healthy. It actually boosts feel-good chemicals in your body that benefit your mental, emotional, and physical health.
What do you like to do for fun? Hike in nature? Get together with friends? Something to do with sports? Swimming? Taking a vacation? Photography? Painting a picture or some other artsy project? Singing?
Sit down and make a list of things you enjoy doing. Things that bring a smile to your face and a happiness vibe to your body.
The positive emotions evoked will certainly help you get through COVID days and beyond.
Reach Out For Help
If you feel you just can’t handle the amount of anxiety you’re feeling, know that it’s alright to reach out for professional help. You’re certainly not alone in your struggles. Many people are admitting to feeling uncertain, loss of control, and mega amounts of anxiety as they try to navigate their lives post-quarantine.
The good news is that accessing mental health therapy is super easy these days. Many, if not most, mental health therapists and agencies are offering sessions online via telephone or video conferencing. That’s super cool for those who aren’t keen on dealing with traffic or have anxiety around meeting a therapist face-to-face in an office.
Not sure who to see? Do some online searching for therapists in your area. That’s a good start. You can also ask your friends or loved ones if they can recommend someone – if you’re comfortable with that.
Also, if you happen to see a therapist and you find that you’re not jiving after a session or two, feel free to search for another. You’ll get the most of out of therapy when you really resonate and feel comfortable with your therapist.
New Social Norms
A social norm is essentially an informal rule or guide of behavior that influences social behavior. Despite what people think, new social norms are slowly emerging. However, the degree is yet to be seen. But if you think about it, there could be plenty of positive outcomes.
People are now far more conscious about germ spreading. From hand washing, coughing and sneezing into elbows, giving people some space, and sanitizing, many people will benefit.
Because such measures can greatly decrease the chances of getting transmissible diseases.
We’re not strangers to new social norms. It used to be you had to choose smoking from non-smoking sections in a restaurant. Now, no one is allowed to smoke inside most places. People used to be irate about the thought of having to pick up their dog’s dung while strolling them around the block. Today, poop scooping is now mandated in plenty of public places with plastic bags already provided.
Sure, people were angry and fussed about new social norms, but less and less over time.
New social norms that may be emerging post-quarantine may not be embraced by all, and that’s alright. While it may feel like we must wear social masks forever, it’s likely that we won’t.
Will handshakes be replaced by other greetings? Perhaps. People have gotten quite creative with their greetings during the COVID pandemic. From the Namaste hand prayer to elbow bumps to the Vulcan salute, it seems people are still greeting each other with respect and peace.
Regardless of what norms may change post-quarantine, we can all help during this time by doing what we agree on as helpful. Things like self-isolating if you have COVID, washing hands often, keeping a distance, sanitizing, and wearing masks where mandated. We can tackle this (and future pandemics) together, doing what we can for the betterment of all of us and future generations.
Anxiety Levels Can Decrease
If you’re struggling with more anxiety than you feel you can handle, take these tips into consideration. If you need extra help, reach out for help. Anxiety levels can decrease using a wide range of stress and anxiety-reduction tips, tools, and techniques.
This is my hope for you.