As vaccination rates climb toward targets that will allow us to return to normal, whether that means returning to the office or attending live in-person events, some people may be experiencing anxiety. Those feelings could be new or a different experience for many.
Experts say these feelings are normal, and minor changes to your routine can make a significant difference as you step into a post-pandemic life. Blake Lauren Hills, LPC, behavioral health consultant, shares tips on easing into this transitional phase.
Take some time for self-care
Figure out what helps you feel steadier and able to cope better and plan around that. Hills says to block out time for yourself and remind yourself you’re doing the best you can, and that’s good enough.
Explore your old routines for what worked; maybe that was hitting spin class before heading to the office or meeting for drinks after work with co-workers every Thursday. Then think about how you want your post-COVID life to look. Perhaps it’s the old way, or you may discover that you want to launch new routines, or you’ll want to create a hybrid.
A great way to explore this is by journaling. The idea behind putting pen to paper, Hill explains is to release your emotions and thoughts on paper, preserve them, learn from them, and in turn avoid overloading yourself or your loved ones with your stress. You may discover common themes in your journal that will guide you in your decisions, or you may notice concerns that you need to address.
Use Mindfulness apps
Guided mediation apps like Headspace, Calm, or My Strength can help you cope during this time.
Offering free subscriptions for employees to these types of apps is a great way to show your commitment to your employees’ mental health.
Remember what helped you stay resilient during this last year. If doing puzzles or walking your neighborhood became your stress reliever, keep doing it!
Watch your pace
It’s a good idea to ease your way into new activities. Physically and psychologically, you may be more exhausted than you expect by the types of stimulation you’ve gone without this past year. Maybe start by gathering in small groups instead of attending a large outdoor event.
It’s a process
The return to something that resembles pre-COVID life will likely take far, far longer than how long it took to go from normal to lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic. It is a gradual process, with different milestones and different timelines for various activities with other people. Most of all, be patient with yourself.
The more we can embrace this transition as a path to keep moving forward on, rather than a switch to be flipped, the more ready we’ll be for bumps along the way.