Anxiety about Emerging from Isolation
It’s pretty typical to feel some anxiety about emerging from isolation into a new phase of reopening.
Some people are saying that it was easier to go into social isolation than it is emerge from it. The message at the beginning of all of this was more clear and concrete: go home and stay home. It was more precise and easy to follow. Now that we’re moving into phase 2, we’re hearing many different messages.
For many of us there are questions about whether to go back to work, enter the grocery store, or wear a mask, etc. We see family and friends making different choices and approaching this with varying degrees of concern. This leaves us with a lot of uncertainty.
On top of that, it’s a time of year when we’re usually transitioning into a summer lifestyle and we want things to feel normal but they don’t. So we have a cognitive dissonance where our brains want it to feel one way but it’s not.
Video Blog: Emerging from Isolation
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How to Deal With Anxiety about Emerging from Isolation
Going back to our regular routines after months away from them can leave us questioning our abilities, wondering if we’ve “still got it” and on top of that, add in changes from the pandemic (hand sanitizer, masks, Plexiglas, etc.) and the whole situation can feel very weird! Here are some ways to deal with it all:
Take comfort in knowing that we’re all dealing with the strangeness of the situation- you’re not in this alone!
2. Name It – Create a Mantra
Try naming where things are at for you. For example, don’t just say to yourself, “I wish it was normal” or “I hate this”, but try “It’s not back to where I want it to be, but I can adapt” or “I’m settling into my new normal”. Use those statements like mantras. You could even write down your mantra and post it by your mirror or on your dashboard to remind yourself to think positive thoughts.
3. Take in Information & Consider Your Values
When deciding how you will handle your approach to entering this “new normal”, take in information and advice from professionals and government leaders. Look to people you trust (family/friends) to see what they’re doing & what’s working for them. Take time to consider your our values- what’s important to YOU? Taking all of these things into account can help you to come to a conclusion about an approach that feels right to you.
4. Facing Fears
If you’re feeling overwhelmed or fearful about making changes, try facing some of those fears. Try some things out, learn about them & see if they’re as bad as you think they might be (often they’re not). You can do some experiments (think of people you trust & what they’re doing- make a list of some of those things and challenge yourself to try some of them.
Your Free Handout
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[You can find more free handouts on our Free CBT Resources page!]Emerge from Isolation
Earlier this week, Thom was interviewed on CBC Radio about the fear and anxiety people are feeling about going outside after months in isolation. You can listen to that here:
CBC published an article about the topic after Thom’s radio interview. You can find that article here: Coronavirus has left some people scared to go outside.