5 Ways to Cope with COVID Re-Entry Anxiety
As the world unwinds from one of the most collectively anxiety-inducing years we have experienced in recent history, many are finding themselves feeling overwhelmed with the next step, re-entry. For some people, going back to an office, into a grocery store or even attending a social event with more than four people, feels totally foreign. After so much time cocooned at home and hooked on our routines to maintain our sanity, the world is collectively in a period of transition. Ahead, we have 5 ways you can take control of COVID re-entry stress and have an amazing summer. After the past year, you really deserve it.
1. Prioritize Sleep
One of the areas that is often the first to suffer when our body experiences intense stress is sleep. However, getting a good night’s sleep can help us cope with whatever we’re going through and simultaneously help our physical, mental, and emotional states. “Poor sleep leads to low energy and lack of activity and exercise,” says Dr. Andrew Kerklaan, the Founder of Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics. So sleep is key to combat COVID re-entry stress. Negative sleep patterns are affected by a whole gamut of factors, including diet, caffeine, and technology usage before bed. So try this instead: put away your phone, get cozy, and apply Dr. Kerklaan Natural CBD Sleep Cream to your forehead. Let the lavender scent, melatonin and CBD combined be part of your prep for a good night’s sleep.
Another way to combat re-entry panic is to practice mindfulness and meditation. We spoke to Emilie Perz, Founder of Sequential Body, an on-demand and livestream Yoga & Wellness platform about how meditation can help during this time. “We are all living with post-COVID inner disturbance. But to get back to a beautiful state of being, we need to work through the journey and process our feelings of alienation, separation, and frustration. Meditation allows us to go within and return to the sensations that evoke joy, expansion, and love again,” explains Perz. “By sitting with ourselves and tuning into those past feelings of celebration, we can elicit a state of bliss, and we can recreate the sensations of what it felt like to be in sync.” New to Meditation? Try one of Sequential Body's library of guided yoga, pilates and wellness classes. Emilie is also a teacher with the popular Yoga Wake Up app that offers guided yoga and mindfulness sessions that you can utilize to start your day feeling centered and strong. "Our emotions are not always rational, but often we allow them to dictate our lives." say Perz, "The brain is dynamic and capable of change at any age. Regular meditation rewires the neural pathways and can redefine how we see or view emotions. For example, we can use meditation to flip a negative experience such as depression or anxiety into a neutral one, eventually leading to emotional wellbeing."
3. Check Yourself
Our mental health has experienced so much battering in the past year and a half that it's hard to know how to even start taking care of ourselves. We spoke to NYC-based relational psychotherapist Lia Avellino about what she’s seen in her clients dealing with the stress of re-entry. Many of Dr. Avellino’s clients reported that they “were still afraid of taking the subway, felt fear for their children, were unsure how to navigate their desires to be with friends again, and spent a lot of time calibrating risk.” So how do we conquer all these fears and get back into life? Dr. Avellino notes that flooding the nervous system by going too fast isn’t the right approach. “ Try taking baby steps and noticing how that feels before continuing to venture out,” she recommends. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, she notes that emotion regulation techniques like breathwork, visualizations, and mantra development are all tried-and-true coping mechanisms to rely on.
Lia Love Avellino NYC Therapist
“Our bodies do not respond well to chronic low-to-moderate stress over extended periods,” warns Dr. Kerklaan about the collective result of months of pandemic anxiety. To manage the tension of post-COVID life, Dr. Kerklaan suggests creating short stimuli our body can respond to, like exercise. “The benefits of exercise in stress management include improving cortisol levels and adrenal function to counteract stress’ effect on blood pressure, weight and diabetes.” In addition, exercise improves sleep quality, which also leads to lower cortisol levels and a reduction in stress overall. Don’t forget to apply the Dr. Kerklaan CBD Relief Cream to provide relief to support your workouts.
5. Have Fun
Going from isolation to group social interaction can be difficult, but breaking out habits of being shut in at home is necessary as the world opens up. “Being alone may have become our normal environment and a sudden change to our normal can create stress,” explains Dr. Kerklaan. Try slowly breaking the cycle by doing things you enjoy with people you trust and feel comfortable with, taking small steps. Eat at a restaurant outdoors before you book a table inside. Connect with co-workers over coffee before you head back into the office. Host a small gathering at your house before attending one at a friend’s. By nature, we are social creatures, and prioritizing fun, laughter and connection is a wonderful way to get back to living life.