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Many people are nervous about getting back out into society. If you or your child are too, you are not alone. If that is the case and you or your child are feeling uneasy check out this tips for Re-Entry Anxiety. We know everybody's situation and sources of anxiety are very different but read through and pick the tips that will fit your family and give them a try!
Prepare Ahead of Time
1. Take an inventory of what you can control and what you can’t. You can control things like where you go, whom you see, and if you wear a mask or not. You cannot control how seriously other people have taken the pandemic, or whether or not every single person you will interact with has been vaccinated. Control what you are able to and try and let go of what you can’t.
2. Find a news source that you trust and consistently use that for your updates on what is safe and what is not. Arm yourself with reputable facts to help you feel safe. However, make it a priority to unplug when you can. Do not obsessively refresh websites or newsfeeds this will only add to your anxiety. Unplug and get some fresh air, read a book, or spend some time with your family.
3. Communicate your boundaries with the people with whom you plan on interacting. How each person handled the pandemic's challenges is very personal so unless you express you and your family’s boundaries, others may assume you are comfortable with something you are not. This can help you avoid finding yourself in a situation you are not okay with, which could further contribute to your reentry anxiety. Talk about things like masks, vaccinations, the number of people, and where you will be getting together.
Do it in your own way!
4. Set small and attainable goals. Physically write a list down of things outside of your house that you or your child want to accomplish. Whether it is actually going to pick up dinner rather than getting it delivered or running errands. Continue to set and cross off goals. You don’t need to go somewhere far away or with a large crowd at first. Ease back into society in a way that makes you or your child comfortable.
5. Start with something that you or your child love doing to remind yourselves how many great things occur outside of your safety zone. Perhaps go get your favorite coffee, or if your child loves animals take them to a store or space with animals that they can get excited about.
6. If you or your child are partaking in anxious behaviors (avoiding any contact at all with people, wearing masks outside, etc.) try to stop one of those behaviors each week. Obviously, continue to wash your hands and wear your mask when you feel the need to but by beginning to stop these anxious behaviors you or your child will start to feel less anxious in general.
You are not alone!
7. Acknowledge the feelings you or your child are experiencing but don’t let them control your life. The longer you avoid something because of your anxiety the harder it will be to do. Every day do one thing outside of your house and continue to build upon your success.
8. Not feeling alone can ease a lot of anxiety. Find someone who is in a similar life stage as the person facing reentry anxiety (if it is you or your partner perhaps another parent, if it is your child encourage them to reach out to one of their peers) who is also struggling with reentry anxiety. Now you can go out together and cross things off of your list as a team.
9. Everyone is experiencing a little confusion and perhaps anxiety about what is and isn't safe and the evolving guidelines for our safety. You’re not alone in your struggle with reentry anxiety (and if your child is struggling let them know they are not alone either). Keep the dialogue surrounding mental health open in your household. If you are anxious bring it up, chances are your children may be too.
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