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  • Do You Have Re-Entry Anxiety After COVID-19?

    If you’re like many Manitobans, part of you is happy for life to return to a new normal with less COVID-19 related restrictions. However, another part of you might be experiencing what some psychologists call “re-entry anxiety.” Re-entry anxiety is exactly what it sounds like: COVID-19 related re-entry anxiety is a specific type of social anxiety related directly to entering social life again after many months of social/physical distancing.

    The Impact of COVID-19

    Firstly, let’s acknowledge that we’ve faced a big trauma these past 2+ years and that we must be gentle with ourselves. Life will feel normal once again even though it may be a new normal. In the meantime, do the best you can do and ask for help when needed.

    Speaking with a therapist who has training and experience for treating social anxiety can be highly effective for people dealing with stress and anxiety. A therapist can help you navigate the complex emotions and offer tools that will help you move through the anxiety.

    The following are just a few ways in which nearby therapy can help you:

    Anxiety is a Normal Reaction to Stressful Situations

    Mental health experts have proposed there are two groups of people that will likely experience re-entry anxiety after COVID-19:

    • Some people have a lingering fear that they will either get infected or that they may unintentionally spread the disease or the new strains of COVID-19
    • Other people might feel that their social skills have withered as a result of social/physical distancing for 2+ years.
      People are sometimes surprised at how much skill is required to keep conversation flowing in social settings. And for some people it may feel like they need to learn their social skills anew even though they were highly skilled in this area before COVID-19 hit in 2020

    Anxiety About No-Mask Settings

    Many people who suffer from social anxiety experienced a significant increase in social anxiety during the early pandemic. This was in part due to mask-wearing mandates. However, now that mask-wearing mandates are being eased, some people experience social anxiety due to the lifting of mask requirements. Common questions anxiety sufferers ask:

    • Is it safe to not wear my mask?
    • Is it weird if I keep wearing my mask?

    These are important questions to ask. However, now that mask-wearing is no longer mandated, you will need to find a way to navigate these questions in ways that are best suited for you.

    Avoidance Does Not Help for Social Anxiety

    It’s important to mention that, while you may be feeling anxious about re-entry into society, avoiding social situations will likely have the outcome of making your anxiety worse. In fact, experts agree that, the longer you avoid the things that make you anxious, the more challenging it will be to rise above the anxiety and get the social anxiety under control again.

    Setting Goals to Address Social Anxiety

    Some people find it quite helpful to set small goals for themselves. For example: You may want to set up a small get-together with one or two others to start. Don’t feel the need to jump in the deep end immediately. You may find it more helpful to acclimatize yourself, which may take some time.

    If you’d like to explore treatment options for social anxiety after COVID-19, please get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to discuss how we may be able to help.

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