Written by: Esha Bagora
Edited by: Zoha Rizwan
Re - entry anxiety is an issue that is re surfacing in society as restrictions continue to be lifted and life begins to transition back to normal. Over the course of this last year, everyone has adjusted to the new normal : having to stay home, isolating themselves with their families for the world's safety, stopping all ‘ large gathering ‘ activities.
But now that the coronavirus is lessening, and countries are easing the restrictions, people are finding themselves worrying about things they never had before. Anxiety over how to interact with other people in social environments they haven’t been in in over a year, over resuming previously required activities, and many other situations. Another added factor causing re entry anxiety is that the pandemic is still raging on and taking lives, even though it’s on a smaller scale. People who lost jobs or loved ones are still seeking aid but are required to go back to living conditions when they still had their jobs and or loved ones. Others may be facing parental worries, financial worries, worries of catching the coronavirus, social justice worries, and may be concerned about the coronavirus’s effects on the major problems in our world.
So many people are facing re - entry anxiety. People who dealt with anxiety or other mental health problems, students who are now going back to school, remotely working adults now going back to office, anyone who is preparing for in - person activities again, everyone is subject or already dealing with re-entry anxiety.
But you may not be able to identify it. Acknowledging that you’re dealing with a particular issue is the first step in getting the necessary help for it, so here are some signs that you could be dealing with re-entry anxiety. A sudden lack of sleep brought on my constantly thinking about in - person events coming up is a major sign. Even if you’re excited for said event, it’s meant to be a part of the flow in your life, not one that is keeping you up at night and compromising your health. Not being interested in meeting up with family and friends is another large sign. At the beginning of the pandemic, nearly everyone was mourning the loss of their social lives, but no longer wanting to return to that sense of normalcy or even being willing to try, could mean that you have re-entry anxiety. Physical symptoms of anxiety are an upset stomach ( for no foreseeable reason ), high heart rate, nausea, insomnia, fatigue or excessive sweating ( not from physical activity ). One major mental symptom is constantly assuming or thinking about the worst case scenario and feeling burnt out from negative thoughts.
Coping mechanisms can include: making time for self - care, spending less time on electronic devices, stop seeking validation from others, meditation and deep - breathing exercises, as well as slowly introducing yourself into public environments. The most important thing is to let yourself feel like this, as it is completely normal to be anxious about situations you haven’t experienced in a while. Give yourself permission to feel how you feel, maybe talk to your family and friends or consult a therapist. It is completely normal to feel hesitant and anxious as the world is re - opening up.
Re - entry anxiety is a normal part of everyone’s experience while getting life back to normal. Physical and mental symptoms are important to distinguish and to diagnose, to start helping yourself and coping. Above all, the most important thing you can do to help yourself deal with re - entry anxiety is allowing yourself to feel. There is nothing wrong with having anxiety or any form of mental health issues, and recognizing that will make your recovery journey much much easier.
We, Reach for the Stars, wish you the best of luck as everyone progresses to making life pre - pandemic normal, and to remind you that your feelings and emotions are 100% valid.