Let’s talk about some new transitions everyone is experiencing: vaccines are available for many people, the CDC is changing their guidelines, and people are beginning to leave their homes. It may seem as though everything is supposed to magically go back to normal, but lots of people are experiencing anxiety with the adjustment and unknowns. Many people have become detached from their daily routines of getting up, commuting to work/school, talking with people in person, going home, maybe seeing some friends, etc. If you are having a hard time picturing this behavior, you are certainly not alone. It is completely normal to fatigue from seeing people in person, feel discomfort around physical touch, exhaustion from moving around more, and concern about making conversation as often as we used to in person. Although going back to the “normal” we used to know is going to take a while or might be a “new normal”, it can feel as though the little changes happening in this moment are overwhelming you day to day.
We at the Gaithersburg Counseling Center want to help. We are sharing some suggestions regarding these adjustments (and we will be sure to try to take our own advice, too.):
- Let your mind readjust. There is no rush to get back out there. Sure, some people may be ready to embrace the change, but it is unrealistic for everyone’s mindset to shift in an instant just because we knew the in-person world before. Follow your gut instincts and participate in COVID-safe activities until you feel comfortable enough to loosen your own restrictions.
- Focus on the positive. This is definitely easier said than done but we encourage you to think about all the good things you wished to have back during quarantine. Anxiety surrounding actually participating in these activities may be there to your own surprise. That is completely okay! Try to focus on memories and feelings you experience with traveling, seeing your close friends, catching up with old friends, trying new hobbies, or rediscovering old ones.
- Manage activities. Take your time with re-entering by not overextending yourself. Try something safe and new every week to two weeks. Haven’t gone grocery shopping in person all of quarantine? Pick a not too busy time of the day to go for the first time. Take a break afterwards to reflect on your anxieties prior to going, whether they were there during, and how you felt afterwards. Try this exercise for the next activity you try, and keep allowing yourself to embrace those thoughts, wherever they may lead you. There is no shame with what happens in your own head and we encourage you to notice your thoughts without attaching judgements to them.
- Feel free to check out when needed. If what everyone else is doing is getting too overwhelming, no need to feel guilty about taking a break. Take all the time you need because you deserve to feel safe and comforted, just the way you are.
Seeing a pattern in this article? This is because we are confident there are many people who need to hear it. Please practice self care, as you can. Feeling re-entry anxiety is very common, although it is not always mentioned amongst all the excitement. Pacing yourself is key. If you are finding a difficult time with this, remember that we are here for you offering both virtual and starting in person sessions. Call, Text or Email any time at 240-274-5680 and Admin@HealingLLC.com. In the meantime, please take good care!