As COVID-19 cases in Ontario start to fall (again), and people are starting to return to the workplace, classroom, theatres, and other social venues, a new type of anxiety is being experienced by many people. Learning to navigate the new norms and getting use to being around more people again can be a stressful situation for many.  Many people have concerns about getting back to enjoying social setting and still keep themselves and their loved ones safe from the virus.  This transition phase can be difficult.  To help, here are a few tips to help move forward with this adjustment.

Prioritize Your Mental Health:

Previous pandemics have shown that the mental health side effects go on long past the physical disease has diminished.  It is odd to say but one of the good things is that many people are going through these same anxieties and feelings. If people recognize this, and work together to help each other access support and available services people will come out of this stronger and healthier.

Accept That We All Move At Different Paces:

Some people are comfortable jumping right back into the social scene again while others will take more time to adjust.  It is important to recognize this and allow people to move at their own pace.  Providing a comfortable environment based on the individual’s needs and definition of comfort is key to helping them get back to socializing.  Patience, sensitivity, and understanding will be key.

Ease Into Situations That Cause Anxiety:

If you feel uncomfortable or anxious getting back to a “normal” life then take it slow. Start with an outdoor patio at a slow time of the day or week instead of heading out on a Friday night to a popular restaurant.  There is nothing wrong with taking baby steps to gain confidence and minimize anxiety. Be honest with your friends and family about your concerns and hopefully they will support and help you through this.

Be Careful Not To Stifle Yourself:

Although it is important for some people to take it slow, be careful not to fall into a reclusive mindset.  It is important to get back out into the world with your friends and loved ones. Pushing a bit beyond our comfort zones is important as long as you do not push too far, too fast.

One of the problems is we are trying to get use to a new norm and yet that new norm has not been defined or explained.  As a society, we are trying to determine that as we go.  This too can cause much anxiety among people. Be aware of your anxieties and what is causing them. Be patient, compassionate, and support each other through this transition.