How to handle the Anxiety as we transition back to “Normal”- Whatever that means!
In January of 2020, the first case of COVID 19 was reported in the United States. Since then, our lives took a drastic turn. From February to March many states across the country issued lockdown orders and mask mandates. As hard and unimaginable it was for us to get used to living in isolation, we somehow did it.
As of now, over sixty-five percent of the U.S. population is vaccinated including children over 5, businesses have fully reopened and masking mandates are being lifted.
From an emotional perspective, we may be facing some challenges in returning to a pre-pandemic state. Many of us may be observing some social anxiety, an increase in stress, some anticipatory anxiety, and some doubts about the safety of going around without masks.
Many parents are skeptical to come out, taking young children to a park, have play dates and birthday parties especially parents of children under age 5.
Also, their children will soon be questioning and even resisting to put the masks after seeing older children and adults moving around unmasked. This means a new kind of pressure on parents.
Well, the good news is that we are all capable of getting used to the change. Our brain is wired to adjust to whatever is the requirement of the time. That’s what we do as humans.
Some accept it faster and for some, it takes a while, but eventually, most of us make the best of what we have and what we are supposed to do in a given time.
Our children and teens may also be feeling a wide range of emotions from anxiety to excitement, confusion, or even a bit of avoidance.
Besides accepting and acknowledging your feelings, here are a few tips that can help us adjust to this new norm and even feel grateful that the hard part is over.
1: Transition slowly: no need to feel the pressure. Take your own time. Listen to your body’s signals and show respect to them. Reintegrate gradually, into the pre-pandemic life.
2: Share your feelings with your family and friends. Ask your children how they are feeling?
3: If your children are hesitant to go for outings, play dates, do not force them. Begin with having one close friend over for a play date, preferably in a park or your backyard. As far as adult time, invite a family over for outdoor dining as weather permits and then slowly transition to an indoor dinner or tea.
4:Journal your feelings and thoughts and see how you feel about slowly transitioning to normalcy. See if you see a pattern with what you hear in the news or how you react to masked versus unmasked individuals? What do you feel when you catch someone sneezing or coughing? Be aware of the upcoming allergy season as well.
5: Remind yourself that you are not alone if you are feeling a little nervous, a little skeptical. People are feeling a mix of feelings. So it’s ok to feel all that.
6: Try to challenge your thoughts if you have been against the use of vaccines. Look closely at the scientific data. Follow the trend of what has transpired in the last 2 years. How we got to a current state. What helped? So get all your facts and make a judgment based on them. Being open to new ideas leads to relaxation and growth. So this may be a good opportunity to begin to do that.
7: Do not forget to be mindful of the capabilities that we human beings possess. We are way more capable than we think we are. If we survived the Pandemic, then we will manage this last leap and hopefully share the stories of these past two years with our kids and grandkids.
8: Use outings as a way to reward yourself for standing strong in the face of adversity. And with your family take a moment of silence to pay tribute to the thousands who lost their lives to COVID, pray for the healing of their families, and show gratitude that we survived and emerged more resilient, stronger, and healthy.
“If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless”.
Stay safe, stay blessed