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- It’s common to feel anxious or stressed about socializing, going to an office, or the world reopening.
- Attending to your sleep quality, mindfulness habits, and anxiety levels can help.
- We spoke with 3 mental health experts on what products can help you cope with post-pandemic anxiety.
If you’ve found yourself drowning in anxiety at the thought of post-pandemic life, you’re not alone: “It is perfectly OK to feel worried — and even anxious — about our re-emergence into life post-COVID,” said clinical psychologist, Alfiee Breland-Noble, PhD, and founder of AAKOMA Project, which aims to include more BIPOC people in psychological research.
Now, it’s important to remember that even the pandemic itself isn’t actually over: New cases of COVID-19 are popping up every day, both worldwide and in the U.S. But with nearly half of Americans vaccinated, the country is quickly loosening restrictions and as we begin to re-emerge into the world by socializing in larger groups, taking our masks off, heading into offices, or finding childcare again, we may feel some intense anxiety for a number of reasons — not the least of which is the fact the pandemic isn’t technically over and that COVID continues to be present in our lives.
“For many of us, this time is fraught with thoughts not only about our health and safety, but about not wanting to return to the crushing pressure of feeling over-scheduled and just plain tired,” Breland-Noble told Insider.
Clinical psychologist, Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, executive director of i360 in Dallas, agrees with Dr. Breland-Noble, and told Insider that as life begins to open back up, expect to “feel weird and have a noisy head.” This kind of anxiety is “the appropriate response for the weird place that the world is in right now,” Gilliland explained. “It’s a strange new day, so feeling strange is actually normal.”
As with any kind of anxiety or mental health distress, coping strategies are key. In addition to embracing the weird, being patient, and building on our lessons of the last year, here are some personally-tested and expert-backed resources for your anti-anxiety toolkit.