Postpandemic Re-entry Anxiety

Loosening restrictions, vaccinations, and lower transmission rates are encouraging us to enter again into our communities. But to what degree and for how long, given the proliferation of variants? There are many questions about re-entry. How, where, and when will we get back to a more normal life? Will we return to the lives we had prepandemic, or will there be "a new normal"? What might the new normal look like? Who knows? No one has the answer.                                                                                                                                                                           

All these questions reflect the many uncertainties that we face.  Uncertainty breeds anxiety. The most recent American Psychological Association's Stress in America survey found that about half of those polled said that they were uneasy about postpandemic life. If you are feeling that way too, you have a lot of company.

During the last year, many of us have been confined ourselves to only a few personal contacts.  We have avoided these contacts to protect ourselves and others. Avoidance, like uncertainty, produces anxiety. Now, a wider social life is becoming safer, and we don't need to be as avoidant. However, we are rusty. Also, approaching others can be more complicated than it used to be. It is not always easy to discuss, remember, and respect the various pandemic-related boundaries of  family members, friends, and coworkers.  We also have to figure out our own. Even though we listen to the scientists, who can contradict one another, we still have to make our own decisions.

To have a full life, we need our personal and work-related relationships as well as activities we enjoy. Consequently, we have to figure out how to venture out in this anxious time. 

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