6 Ways to Ease “Re-Entry Anxiety” From the Pandemic

A face mask-wearing girl peers out the window through horizontal mini-blinds and ponders life transitions

Going back out into the world doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly stressful

Key takeaways:

  • Nearly half of American adults are experiencing pandemic-related re-entry anxiety

  • Take baby steps when getting back into the swing of things

  • The COVID-19 vaccines make interacting in society safer.

  • Realize what you can and can’t control

  • Do things you enjoy

  • Mindfulness can help keep you in tune with your mental state

  • Therapy can provide helpful coping methods to easy re-entry anxiety

Though it’s fantastic news that COVID cases continue to decline and vaccines are widely available, some of us may be nervous about returning to life as we knew it. Some are anxious to resume regular activities like shopping, seeing a movie, or attending a concert; it might seem easier to just continue distancing from the external world. But, at some point, it is necessary to get back to living in society and doing enjoyable things.

Humans are social creatures and even the most introverted of us still need social interaction on some level. It might take some of us longer than others to become comfortable with gatherings and in-person interactions again.

Social anxiety has risen since the start of the pandemic. According to an American Psychological Association survey, nearly half of American adults are anxious about having face-to-face interactions right now. If you feel reluctant to revert back to doing things the way you did before the pandemic, we discuss six things you can do to help ease your re-entry anxiety.

The trauma of living through a pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, panic spread quickly. Some people started hoarding supplies while others went into denial. Soon, we were stuck mostly indoors, hoping we’d be safe from the life-threatening virus that had spread across continents without prejudice.

Many of us experienced the pandemic, lockdowns, and social isolation as traumatic events. We were thrust into a new normal with little warning. And then, shortages of bottled water and essential household items made things more difficult. It was a new life stressor that few had experienced before.