Anxious, nervous, excited, all of the above? How do you feel about it?
Many people are on the verge of, if not already, becoming vaccinated. This shift signals a mark of hope and freedom. With it, seems to be coming pervasive anxiety, more questions than answers and ideas about what feels "safe" now. I've heard people describe a combination of bursting excitement and dread induced panic when discussing going back to a restaurant. I've sat with clients tearing up about being scared to return to normal, not because of covid, but because of the beautiful bubble they've created with their family in their homes.
I'm aware of the privilege that it takes to have allowed many people to choose to stay home and how the weight of that responsibility weighs heavily on so many that can't do the same. I'm also aware of the paralyzing fear that some people are experiencing when they think about returning to a concert, a football game or even just dinner... the price of being protected from society for an entire year.
One thing is for sure, the great re-entry is on the horizon and it's stirring up all of the feels.
Here are some tips for getting through your first indoor dining experience, flight or trip to the store with your mental health intact.
Continue to Take Precautions. If we've finally learned one thing as a country, it's how to wash our hands. Keep up what you know and take small risks that feel safe to you.
Make Boundaries that Feel Good to You. You will still have friends and family that you feel unsafe around or activities that you aren't ready to do. While it's good to push yourself a tiny bit at a time, you don't really need to force yourself to go to a hot yoga class with your group of unvaccinated friends.
Visualize it Going Well. What? You'd rather visualize it going poorly and you getting sick? Our brains do that, we love to analyze the worst case scenario. But... you get to control that. Don't let your mind lead you down that path.
Watch what stories your Telling Yourself. And, while you're at it - watch your news intake. Of course there is a possibility that some really wild, crazy thing happens to you - but it's a possibility, not a probability!
If the weight of anxiety feels too heavy, it may be time to chat with a therapist about specific coping skills or to create a plan. Also, know it's okay to feel both terrified and excited... we've been through a lot.
How do you feel about the re-entry? I'd love to hear...