Readjusting to “Normal”

This last year-and-a-half has brought on huge changes in our lives, but at long last the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. If you’re lucky enough to have access to the vaccine now, that light is fast approaching, and if not, I really hope it won’t be very long until you can get it. Even still, we have a ways to go before things return to “normal”, and part of that journey is going to be readjusting to life post-pandemic.

Granted, we still have a ways to go.

I’m not going to lie, as someone with social anxiety quarantine and social distancing has lent me a weird sense of comfort. I know for a fact I’m not unique in this, it’s pushed a lot of the more anxious among us back into our comfort zones. Even people who don’t have an anxiety disorder are feeling a sense of discomfort at stepping back out into the world. We’ve all just got so used to avoiding each other, keeping to our “pods”, and spending a lot of time at home.

The most difficult thing for me, and I suspect for many people with anxiety, is that I’m pretty much having to work myself back up to where I was pre-pandemic. For example, grocery stores have always made me anxious, to the point where I had to work really hard just to be ok going into a store on my own. After pretty much avoiding them for over a year, I feel like I’m back at square one, and I have to do all that exposure therapy over again.

The good news, for myself and everyone else in this position, is that we did it before. Whatever that fear or anxiety is that we’ve been forced to avoid for all this time, we have to break through the frustration and remember it’s just a temporary setback.

We can reconquer our anxieties the same way we conquered them in the first place; by taking small steps. As frustrating as it is, we can’t expect ourselves to just jump right in. Maybe it’s going on a short outing with a couple friends, or going to the supermarket when it’s not busy. Do one small thing every day to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. It’ll be a lot of work, but not as much as the first time you tackled these anxieties.

This week, I want you make a goal of something small you can accomplish on a daily basis. Something that will make you a little uncomfortable. Whatever it is, do it every day for 7 days. If you feel comfortable doing so, share your wins in the comments!

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