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Managing Reopening Anxiety
With things opening up again, it’s okay to feel anxious about returning back to “normal”. These tips are about transitioning back into our communities and how to support our mental health in the process.
We've all been waiting such a long time for things to go back to "normal" that we might not have even considered what life without a pandemic would look like! Take time to assess your feelings and honour your own pace as things slowly open up.
Self care is going to be even more important than usual as you enter into this new period of returning to "normal". Keeping in touch with your thoughts and feelings during this transition will help you to understand & plan meaningful ways to take care of yourself.
Take your time when filling in your social calendar, it's okay to not want to go out, commit to plans and then change your mind, or even be out and decide to go home earlier than planned.
Download our mood. by mindyourmind app & help yourself keep track of your sleep and mood patterns during this transitionary period. You'll be better able to care for yourself with that knowledge!
Observe how you feel when you're out doing "normal" activities. How does it feel when things are busier? More crowded? Enjoying a patio? Going to the beach? We are all new to this experience and there is no right way to navigate this. Everything you feel is okay.
When you're travelling, remind yourself that you may have longer wait times for different line ups. Grab things you like to do and bring them with you! It will help pass the time and keep your energy focused while you wait.
Can you believe it's been almost 16 months since we entered our 1st lockdown? From isolating in our homes to now getting to attend social events! We've come a long way! Some people will want to talk about their experiences and others will not; both are okay!
Whether through journalling, listening to a podcast or talking to a friend, reflect about how you feel about life getting back to "normal" in a way that feels right for you. Acknowledge what went well, your strengths, & any skills you may have gained during this time!
It's okay to not know how things will go as we move towards "normal." This is the first time we've had to experience a global crisis! Talk about history in the making. Be gentle with yourself and listen to your intuition.
Do things you enjoy as things slowly shift to "normal". Checking out a movie, book store, walking a trail, going to the beach - whatever you've been missing, make time for it. Many experiences are going to be awesome! Allow yourself to have fun. It's the best medicine!
Many things may feel out of your control so focus on what you can control! For example, learning what your triggers are can help you to prepare for the unknown.
If you're struggling to manage "reopening" anxiety, reach out to a professional. Counselling or medication could help you to adjust to this new normal.
Do things your way. Want to still wear a mask in places they're no longer required? Go for it! Don't feel up to attending events or places with crowds? Don't go! Live your life for YOU, not for anybody else.
Celebrate how far you've come! You've been living through a global pandemic and that's not an easy thing to do. Reflect on this past year and the year ahead by writing down what you've learned and are grateful for.
Give yourself some compassion and be patient with yourself. The road ahead is going to be challenging, so think about how you would support a friend during this time and show yourself the same kind of love and kindness. You deserve it.
Anxious about things returning to "normal?" Start small with daily or weekly challenges. Consider how you can keep moving forward despite the anxiety you may feel. You got this!
Talk your fears out loud with your support network. Many people in your inner circle are likely feeling the same as you. Remember you are not alone, so give yourself permission to lean on those around you.
Take a look at this article from @Anxiety_Canada, Returning to a New Normal: 12 Tips for Handling Uncertainty, and learn 12 tips for handling uncertainty during this time.
As you navigate this new "normal," you might be feeling self conscious. Our bodies have carried us through a monumental time in history, it's okay if they've changed & grown! Try to give yourself some grace & remember you are more than a body.
Looking for more content to read to help ease reopening worries? Check out verywellmind for tons of helpful and relevant articles!
It's okay to take things slow and go at your own pace. There's no rush to get back to what you were doing before the pandemic started. Take a deep breath and tackle things one day at a time.
Proper rest plays a huge role in our mental health. Make sure that during this shift you’re taking the time to adjust your routine and continue taking care of yourself!
You can't prepare for every situation you encounter post lockdown, but you can prepare for how you handle them. Check out these tips, from Harvard Medical School, for coping with anxiety and stress.
Remember that others have also been stuck in their own version of this pandemic and are probably nervous too! It might help to remind yourself that you’re not alone and might not be the only one feeling anxious about going back to ‘normal’.
When things open up, don’t feel pressured to jump back into it. Start with your closest circle of people you truly enjoy spending time with. This can help calm nerves and allow you to slowly expand this circle as you feel ready.
Scattered thoughts are normal during this time. Sometimes writing your things out can help. Journaling is a great tool to reduce stress, lessen feelings of anxiety, and relieve distress. Give it a try if you're feeling overwhelmed by the return to 'normal'.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about returning to ‘normal,’ try focusing on just one thing you’re most excited for. This way you can ease back into a favourite activity and reduce overstimulation.
So many resources have been created for relieving anxiety. Check some of these apps found on Vox Media.
Sometimes social media can be overwhelming. If you find yourself comparing your 're-opening' social life to that of others, try logging off and taking some 'you' time!
With the return of in person schooling it's normal for children and teens to experience heightened back to school stress. @Anxiety_Canada has great advice for supporting students during this time.
It's OKAY to feel like your life has changed during the pandemic. Take time to acknowledge the hardships you have faced and leave room to reflect on how much you have grown during this time. Be proud of yourself and all that you have worked through!
These tips were originally posted on our Twitter account under the hashtag #mymTips with a different topic each month. Follow us on Twitter to see a new tip each day, or visit the Wellness Section to see more tips.