We’ve been down this road before.
The COVID numbers drop. The rules and restrictions are relaxed or even lifted altogether. And people step back out, mask-free and ready to enjoy life again.
Seems like we’re trying it one more time after several false starts. Hopefully, the next COVID wave won’t be a big one. Or better yet, maybe the waves will be gone for good.
But you can be forgiven for being skeptical, given how many times we’ve been burned before. And I want to assure you it’s perfectly normal to be nervous about heading back out into the world amid a pandemic that’s not quite over yet.
That’s especially true if you’re at higher risk because of age or health conditions.
The good news is if you ARE getting out more, there are some things you can do to ease into the change. You can enjoy life again without being overwhelmed by stress or anxiety.
Stressed out about going OUT? MANY are
Right now, in the United States, COVID caseloads have plummeted. The numbers are the lowest they’ve been in a year in some areas and anxiety levels seem to have dropped right along with them.
And despite BA-2 finally making an appearance here in more significant numbers, in many ways, things are closer to “normal” than they’ve been in years.
People are going back out to movie theaters, restaurants, concerts, and more. They’re even returning to in-office work in droves.
And if what we’re seeing on the news is any indication, plenty of people have no reservations about getting right back into the action.
But I’ve got to be honest. Just looking at some of those images gives me anxiety. I’m not quite THERE yet.
Here’s the thing. Looks can be deceiving. There are STILL millions of folks who are nervous about engaging in any kind of public activity with large groups yet. And in some cases, even small ones send stress levels rising.
Some folks are battling anxiety. Countless people are still mourning lost loved ones. And others are simply unhappy with how life has changed over the last two years.
Many of us have found we can’t simply flip a switch and get comfortable being out in public again. And that has led to what is essentially a new form of PTSD.
If you’re one of us, you’re in good company. And I have some tips to help you overcome it.
Easing out of post-COVID anxiety
Let’s start by getting one thing straight. Your anxiety is a reasonable reaction to what we’ve all gone through.
You don’t have to apologize for feeling this way. There’s nothing to feel bad about.
Second, if you’re NOT comfortable doing “IT,” simply don’t. Whatever the activity is, you don’t have to force yourself. There’s no good reason to rush anything or add to the pressure you’re already feeling.
You’ve waited this long. You can wait a little longer. Easy, right?
Third, natural therapies for fighting stress and anxiety are a great option. They can help take the edge off whenever you decide you’re ready to push on the edges of your comfort zone.
These include herbal teas and supplements such as Rhodiola Rosea and ashwagandha. I compiled a handy list of 12 more herbs to help you conquer stress right here.
And finally, take baby steps. Ease back into a “new normal.”
You don’t need to make a big move like buying tickets for a crowded concert or heading back to the shopping mall. This isn’t a band-aid you need to rip off all at once. And besides, going slow will allow you to quickly retreat again if case numbers start spiking in your area.
Try something you used to enjoy that doesn’t feel so risky and anxiety triggering instead. Maybe it’s Thursday night book club with a small group of vaccinated friends. Or volunteering for a charity drive at church like you used to.
These old activities are less likely to trigger anxiety since they’re familiar. And that extra layer of comfort can go a long way towards easing back into things.
If you feel your stress levels creeping up anyway, try this odd but effective trick. Find an orange and do THIS.
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