How to Handle The Anxiety of Returning to Normalcy
Maybe you, like many of us, have taken advantage of this pandemic to learn, reflect and make changes in your life. You may have heard it said that the biggest crises and the strongest challenges never leave us the same – what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Life is in constant change, but the idea is that we are moving towards a better version. After this long pause to the accelerated life we were leading, there are many people who are not so enthusiastic about the idea of returning to normalcy. The very idea of resuming social contact reminds them of things like exposure, contagion, and danger (1). What can we do to combat this anxiety and better prepare ourselves for the transition back to social life? Here are some suggestions:
Don’t feel like you're from another planet
Come on, now! You're not the only person who feels this way (or else we wouldn't be writing about it, trust us). We have practically been prisoners to a virus for more than a year, forcing us to acquire new habits, beginning with avoiding contact with others at all costs. It is normal to think that being surrounded by people again will make us a little anxious. Studies on human behavior after less intense and longer quarantines than the one we endured have shown that people can have depressive symptoms up to 3 years later as well as other symptoms such as anxiety, irritability, insomnia, lower concentration and performance, and more. Just consider yourself one more of the group. (2)
Check the difference between paralyzing fear and anxiety
In most cases, all you have is a bit of anxiety about the change. That is a feeling of internal threat due to uncertainty (1). It’s another thing to feel so comfortable in your home, that you are convinced you need to avoid contact with others, for fear of external danger (3). Some of us have that level of uncontrollable fear, which requires professional help.
Take it as an opportunity to create new bonds
Time spent alone may have freed you from a lot of unnecessary or toxic people. That's certainly an accomplishment, but it doesn't mean you never need to socialize again. Quite the contrary – it’s a vital part of a healthy life. Take this return to social life as a new start to make friendships and contacts with people who share your same tastes and concerns.
Make use of all the emotional, spiritual, and physical tools around you
Meditation, prayer, breathwork, and exercise all help! (4) As does supporting the body to cope through this stressful period. To do so, you can take products like ashwagandha, which has been shown to combat stress disrupting the body's normal processes when generating more cortisol than necessary (5). You can even take it at night to help you relax, stimulate sleep, and rest better. Other options that also help include passionflower and melatonin. An important part of our emotional stability to face social life is based on a good night's rest. (6)
Push yourself! Participate in activities that invoke a little anxiety
You don't need to join every social event you are invited to or go out to lunch with the long list of contacts you used to have. Just take it one step at a time. Start by getting together with just one friend. Maybe meet outdoors in a park or at the beach, so you don't get overwhelmed. Next time try to arrange to meet up with two friends. Exercise together or enjoy a chat in a coffee shop. Finally, you can plan a weekend a few hours away from home. This will help you settle back into normalcy one step at a time, making the process that much easier.
Reevaluate your priorities
Many employers complain that their workers don't want to return to work face-to-face. In some cases, it is due to the fear of contagion, which persists still, but for others, they have discovered that they can be productive and comfortable while working from home. Just evaluate yourself to determine if you are being driven by fear, or caution. For many people, this pandemic helped them rethink their priorities and reevaluate what makes them truly happy. You should do the same, and if the decision involves a new job, then consider that maybe it's time to make that decision and go for it!
Don’t get ahead of yourself or create unnecessary drama
Concentrate on the situation at hand and the circumstances around it. Don't think about the possibility of getting infected, becoming ill, spreading it to your loved ones, facing medical expenses, or even dying. There are thousands of things that could potentially happen every day, but not all of them must be negative. Getting ahead of ourselves or imagining worst-case scenarios will only leave you with more stress and discouragement. Live, appreciate, and enjoy responsibly what you have today.
Reduce the risks
The best confidence comes from taking the necessary steps to protect ourselves: getting vaccinated, following hygiene measures consciously, and wearing a mask when you feel it is necessary. Strengthen your immune system with good rest, physical activity, healthy eating, and supportive supplements such as zinc, vitamin c, echinacea, and quercetin.
When we know we have taken the right measures, everything becomes easier. We will complete this process together, step by step.
Let's be healthier, together.
Your Santo Remedio Team
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