Thanks to COVID-19, life as we know it hasn’t been “normal” for a while now.
The novel coronavirus, and the health precautions that came with it, sparked a full range of human emotion, including fear, gratitude, anger, grief and hope. When people are forced to uproot their lives amid a roller coaster of emotion, their mental health can suffer.
As vaccinations continue and the world gradually reopens, many people are feeling uneasy about returning to business as usual. There’s an official name for this feeling: re-entry anxiety.
Listen as host Mark Gomez, MD, and his guests, Ines Casey, MD, board-certified infectious disease specialist, and Marc Browning, PsyD, ABPP, RN, board-certified clinical psychologist, talk about re-entry anxiety and how to overcome it.
Myths vs. Facts
“Just as we all had different pandemic experiences, our re-entry experiences will be diverse.” – Fact
Everyone will face different re-entry scenarios and must make decisions based on their personal situation.
“Employers should support employees who may feel anxious about returning to in-person work.” – Fact
The anxiety people are feeling is real. Anxiety impacts our ability to heal, function and be productive, and those things need to be taken into consideration.
“Mindfulness exercises can help someone suffering from re-entry anxiety.” – Fact
A lot of anxiety is from us pulling the future into the present. Worries, concern about worst-case scenarios—we’re pulling that into our day-to-day life, and it preoccupies us. Mindfulness is about staying in the present, focused on the here and now. Mindfulness skills can help us stay present and settle our nervous system.
“Stress can make you sick.” – Fact
When people go through periods of high stress, sometimes they will get sick because mental stress can weaken your immune system.
“Re-entry can be gradual: Evaluate and adjust your comfort levels one encounter at a time.” – Fact
You can start slowly. For example, go back to work part time in-person and part time remote. Make a more gradual transition.
“As we face another transition period, seeking or continuing mental health services during re-entry can help.” – Fact
We all have mentors, professors, people we learned from who can help us. A mental health practitioner can offer guidance and help you come up with strategies to address problems.
“It is important to practice self-care.” – Fact
You must take care of yourself. Rest when you’re tired, eat when you’re hungry. People get busy and forget to listen to their bodies.
“There is value in practicing gratitude and enjoying the little things.” – Fact
Society is inundated with bad information, and it’s natural for human beings to drift toward the negative messages. We have a lot to be grateful for—quality healthcare, vaccines, the time we have with loved ones—there’s always something that we can be grateful for.
Listener healthy OH-YEAH!
“Went for a 3,100-yard (1.761 miles) swim.” – M.T.