The pandemic forced millions of people out of their routines. For many, this meant no longer having access to the coping strategies and structures they needed to maintain their mental health. Going to the gym? Taking a break to go see a movie? Even going to school or work? All unavailable for a period of time.
This sudden transition felt paralyzing to some. All of us went into survival mode in our own ways. However, over time, we all adjusted and developed new routines. But once again, as the world reopens, another transition is upon us.
Unlike the onset of the pandemic, when we had little to no warning, we can now plan for a smooth, healthy transition into our new normal. Yet because the transition into the pandemic felt so traumatizing, many are feeling anxiety about going “back” to what life was like.
When is it okay for us to return to “normal”? How can we find our new normal at a healthy pace? And what can we do if we’re feeling social anxiety about this transition?
When Is It Okay to Return to “Normal”?
For some of us, the idea of returning to “normal” may be completely unappealing. “Normal” left us completely unprepared for a global pandemic. “Normal” led to millions of people losing their jobs and loved ones in a short period of time. And “normal” revealed the limits of governments and institutions we had assumed would take care of us but fell short.
“Normal” also meant doomscrolling on social media for hours on end, being bombarded with stories about how unfair and scary the world can be.
Without minimizing the very real emotional cost of these realizations, there is now an opportunity to redefine “normal” in healthier ways.
In fact, redefining what your personal new “normal” can be is a key part in transitioning into post-pandemic life.
Steps to Find Your New Normal Slowly
To begin your transition into normalcy, take a moment and define what “normal” means to you.
- What matters most to you in your life? Did the pandemic give you time to reassess your priorities?
- How can you create healthy ways to prioritize what matters now and be more intentional about your life?
- What have you learned about your stress triggers? How can you avoid these stressors going forward?
- How can you prioritize community and meaningful relationships?
Answering these questions can help make a comfortable plan to transition to normalcy at a healthy pace.
Despite the opportunity to refocus our lives on the positive, there may still be feelings of social anxiety and overwhelm. Here are additional tips that can help ease transition to post-pandemic life:
- First, be patient with yourself. It’s okay if formerly simple tasks feel like a lot. Remember to give yourself time – there’s nothing wrong if you need to go a bit slower than those around you.
- Take short breaks to yourself during the day. Practice short meditations, take a walk, listen to an uplifting podcast – whatever helps you relieve stress and recenter yourself.
- If you’re feeling anxiety about going back to school or the office, ask your manager or teacher if you can transition gradually. Start with a few days a week, then slowly transition to a full–time in-house schedule.
- Give yourself time to grieve what you have lost. It is totally appropriate and normal to feel sadness, anger, and fear after what you’ve been through.
How San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital Can Be a Valuable Resource to Find Your Footing
While following these tips can help most people with the transition to normalcy, you may find that you’re experiencing unmanageable social anxiety. If your post-pandemic social anxiety is affecting your mental health, you’re not alone. The team at San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital can be a valuable resource to help you find your footing and make a comfortable transition.
Throughout the pandemic and now as we move into life after lockdown, the San Antonio Behavioral Healthcare Hospital team has carefully observed the pandemic’s effects. We recognize the signs of social anxiety, and we know how to help.