Experiencing some pandemic reentry anxiety is fairly normal. However, it doesn’t have to become YOUR new normal.
Some Pandemic Reentry Anxiety Is Normal
Even as the number of COVID cases diminish, there will be work to do to address and heal the mental health challenges that have substantially increased since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020. The reality is that the past year has been difficult for almost everyone in one respect or another. Some people lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Others fell ill or had to learn how to cope with the illness or deaths of friends and family. Many people practiced social distancing in some respect, which transformed the way we connect with our communities, neighbors, and loved ones.
If you’re feeling pandemic reentry anxiety about your new normal, you, like many people, may have a tendency to feel self-critical. Something must be wrong with me, you might think. Everyone else seems fine. Everyone else seems to be adjusting well. For some reason, however, you may still feel as if something off.
Honor YOUR New Normal
First and foremost, you have to take care of yourself and look out for you. Cut yourself some slack, and try to refrain from judging yourself based on an arbitrary set of rules you yourself created. (Or on your perception of how other people are coping — it’s nearly impossible to know what other people are going through, and their Facebook posts aren’t necessarily a window into their real worlds.)
You may think that you shouldn’t feel stressed or that you should be able to be more productive and get more done. You may assume that you should be feeling joy instead of feeling pandemic reentry anxiety and feeling guilty about any fears or reservations you might have. You may even feel jealous that others seem healthier and happier and more “on top of things” than you.
These are stories that we tell ourselves. These stories often aren’t helpful or true.
Honor YOUR reality. Stop putting your needs on the back burner. Your health matters. Give yourself some grace. Take a walk around your neighborhood to clear your head. Tend to your garden and get at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight. Talk to a friend honestly about what you’re feeling. Drink a cup of Ocimum (Tulsi) tea.
Ease Yourself Back into Society
Only if you’re truly healthy can you handle the many daily demands of your life, including taking care of your family, getting all of your work done, and managing your household. Remember: some pandemic reentry anxiety is normal, but it doesn’t have to become your new normal.
It’s time to take care of YOU. (Try this handy reentry checklist for starters.)