The COVID-19 pandemic has taken over our lives for over a year. That’s a year of getting used to things like lockdowns, quarantines, mask-wearing, and social distancing.
Now, thanks to the mass vaccine rollout, the pandemic appears to be waning in the United States. Some states are reopening faster than others, but the goal is obviously for everyone to get back to “normal,” or whatever that might look like, moving forward.
While it’s exciting to think about a sense of normalcy, reentering a post-pandemic world may not be as easy as you initially think. Some people might even struggle with anxious thoughts and feelings about it.
So, how does reentering back into normalcy affect our minds? What can you do to make the transition easier on yourself?
1. It’s All About Control
Most people like to be in control of their own lives. Granted, there are some things that you can’t control every day. Yet the pandemic made so many feel like everything was uncertain and completely out of control.
You might struggle with that, and it can cause you to feel unsafe as you step back out into the real world. The pandemic made it easy to feel nervous about so many things that you might take those uncertainties with you even when the situation is safe.
So, what can you do?
Start by focusing on the things within your control. If your friends ask you to meet for lunch, think about the things you can still do to make yourself feel safe. That could include everything from wearing a mask or distancing to making sure you’re vaccinated before meeting anyone.
2. A Need for News
When the pandemic first hit, everyone was instructed to stay at home as much as possible. Unfortunately, that left a lot of time to watch the news and check up on social media.
In a post-pandemic world, you might still cling to those things.
While it’s important to stay informed and know what’s going on, it’s just as crucial to disconnect. One way this pandemic will linger is through fear and misinformation. Don’t trust everything you see posted on Facebook and make sure you know the source of the news you choose to believe.
The pandemic has made some people dependent on consistently updated information. That’s something you may have to ween off as you reenter the world and try to get back to a normal life.
3. The World Has Changed—Your Mind Has Too
Reentering a post-pandemic world can make it easy to feel anxious and even nervous for a while. The world has changed. The reality is that some things will never be the way they were before.
Thousands of businesses have closed. Others have changed the way they do things. Some schools are now permanently offering hybrid or online options. More social distancing and protective measures could be in place for years to come.
One of the best things you can do as you step back into your own life is to accept your feelings. Whatever they might be, allow yourself to experience the emotions that are coming forth. They might change on a daily basis, and that’s okay.
It’s also okay to accept that your life changed during the pandemic. Things like your job, your relationships, or even your outlook on life could be completely different. Don’t try to shove those feelings down or ignore them. Emotions demand to be felt, and it’s a good idea to listen to them.
If you’re having trouble reentering a post-pandemic world or you’re struggling with feelings of anxiety or uncertainty, you’re not alone. This is still a unique situation, and we’re all in it together.