OK, so you have your vaccine card and the CDC now says some outdoor situations don’t need masks. But you still have that social apprehension or dreading about going “back to” anything? You’re not alone.
You could credit media. You could definitely credit the pandemic. A quick search, and you’ll find study after study of some pandemic-related connection to more recording of mental health conditions. Just how common are those numbers?
"The anxiety is not a push-button function. You can't just turn it off. People are going to have some apprehensions. I think it's completely natural. If you didn't, I'd be shocked," Dr. Eric French said.
"Living through a pandemic for over a year takes a toll on the mind and body. So whether or not you realize it, you have made so many changes to accommodate your environment and the constant change that's been the past year for all of us," Sana Powel, licensed professional counselor with The Curly Therapist, said.
Experts say whether it's back into the office after working from the home or feeling out a family or friendly gathering, communicate your boundaries in a simple way.
"This might stir up some anxiety in us because we don't want to negatively impact our relationships. So instead of over explaining why you feel the way you do or why you need what you do. A simple framework you can use for clearly communicating your boundaries is by saying, 'I feel ... when you ... and I need ....' And remember that the people who care about you, even if they don't immediately understand your boundaries, will make an effort," Powell said.
The insight here isn't meant to substitute medical advice. If you're looking for free and low-cost care near you, findahealthcenter.HRSA.gov or calling (800) 662-HELP could be a start.