The United States and other countries around the world have taken significant strides out of the pandemic. While COVID-19 is still a threat, with the majority of the population vaccinated, the rate of infection has slowed down significantly.
As a result, restrictions are now, one by one, being lifted. Americans now have been permitted to remove their face coverings outdoors. Meanwhile, restaurants have reopened for dine-in services. Movie houses are also set to reopen, too, at full capacity at some point this year.
After a year of dread, people can go back to normal life.
What is Post-COVID Anxiety?
The pandemic upended everyone’s life. Overnight, people were forced to abandon their daily habits and routines such as waking up early to go to school or the office, stopping by the neighborhood cafe for coffee, driving home at the end of the day. Everyone had to spend more time at home.
Throughout that time, people adopted behaviors to keep themselves safe. They wore masks, used hand sanitizers after touching surfaces outdoors, washed their hands frequently, and made sure to stay away from strangers.
The house became the only safe space where all those guards could come down.
So now that the pandemic is winding down and life is going back to how it was before COVID-19, people have started feeling anxious. They miss doing those activities that were considered ordinary before the lockdowns, such as meeting friends and family, eating at restaurants, watching a movie at the theater, and going to concerts. But the fear of going out, interacting with people, and then catching the virus and becoming ill does not really go away overnight.
Moreover, during lockdowns, people developed new habits and routines that they will once again need to abandon. They will have to adapt to new habits and routines again for the post-pandemic world.
It also does not come as a surprise that the past year has also caused mental health conditions around the world to rise. A survey from March 2020 revealed that a significant portion of the population were experiencing symptoms of mental health conditions such as feeling tired and lack of energy, sleep disturbances, difficulty concentrating, feeling nervous or on edge, unable to relax, and hopeless. Many Americans coped with the global crisis by increasing their consumption of alcohol and cannabis.
Manage Post-pandemic Anxiety
Anxiety is a widespread experience. Everyone has been anxious at some point. It may happen before starting a new job, giving a presentation in front of a crowd, or going on a first date. It could also be a natural response to changes that will happen once the pandemic is over.
Of course, the pandemic ending is a good thing. But you need to find ways to manage your anxiety better. There are healthy ways to do it. You can, for example, get a massage that has been known to relax both the body and the mind. You can get massage chairs online if the thought of going out and having physical contact with another person gives you the jitters.
Meditation has also been proven to improve anxiety. The exercise focuses on breathing or mantras to rid the brain of negative thoughts.
Take One Step at a Time
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) is the recommended treatment for anxiety disorders. It involves exposing the patient to the trigger gradually and in a safe space to teach the brain that there is nothing to fear.
Adopting the principles of ERP can help you re-enter society after the pandemic. Here is how you do it. If, for example, the thought of eating in a restaurant makes you anxious, start by grabbing takeout and eating it outdoors where you will feel safer.
It will also help to recognize and call out negative thoughts. Are you feeling anxious because you are thinking of the worst-case scenario? Are you telling yourself that you will feel uncomfortable? Often, it is our own thoughts that are to blame for causing anxiety. As soon as you notice yourself drifting toward thinking about the danger, stop and refocus your mind into what you are doing now.
Talk to a Therapist
You have survived a traumatic experience. A pandemic is a major event in history, and you lived through it. A therapist can help you navigate your thoughts and emotions. Seeking professional help is more important if you have lost someone you care about because of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a cause of anxiety. The end of it is causing anxiety, too, to some people. It is normal to feel uneasy after a year of fear and grief. Eventually, like all things, it will pass, and you will learn to be comfortable to go out again in a post-pandemic world.
Meta title:How to Manage Post-pandemic Anxiety
meta desc: COVID-19 has caused a great deal of anxiety for the majority of the population. But to some, emerging into a post-pandemic world is also causing worry and fear.