Vaccination rates have been increasing around the country and restrictions are being loosened across provinces and territories. In Canada, 71.95% have received one dose and 63.86% are fully vaccinated. This has led to a new question that has come up in many minds: “what will life be like as things return to ‘normal’?”
It is normal to feel nervous about the future as more people get vaccinated and restrictions are lifted, signifying yet another change during this pandemic. While some may be ready to return back to some version of “normalcy”, there are many who also feel concerned and anxious. It is normal to feel anxious about the future, especially during the last year and a half that has been full of transitions and we have all had to adapt and acclimate to new changes.
A poll by APA’s Stress in America shows that approximately 50% of people are feeling uneasy about returning to in-person interaction post-pandemic. This worry is amplified by anxieties around COVID, which have been driven by uncertainty in the past year and a half.
Here are 5 top tips for easing through the changes that are upcoming in the near future:
Give yourself grace
It is normal to feel anxious about loosening restrictions and it is important to adjust at your own pace. Do not feel as though there is something wrong with you for feeling hesitancy with returning to normal, and give yourself grace and remember that this year has been challenging; you’re doing the best you can!
Focus on the things you can control
Although you cannot control the restrictions that are put into place or loosened, you can make personal decisions to keep yourself safe and healthy and protect your mental health.
An example of this could be taking a break from reading COVID-19 news as often or setting additional boundaries regarding the number of people in your bubble.
Set a new routine
Creating a new routine can provide you a sense of stability and help give you some structure that will help you transition through this new phase.
There are many things you can do to create a new routine. You could set a defined schedule for your day, but small changes are also effective such as waking up earlier or making time for physical activity.
Practice setting healthy boundaries
Creating healthy boundaries that help you feel safe is important. Focus on what you are comfortable with and what is best for your mental health.
It is okay to set boundaries with friends, family, and coworkers if you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed about COVID-19. Also, remember that it is okay to adjust and recalibrate your boundaries!
Make time for activities you enjoy
To help ease through transitions, start doing activities you missed doing over the past year. This can be a range of activities such as going to a restaurant with friends or attending your favourite exercise class.
Remember to only do activities you are comfortable with and do not feel pressured to rush back into activities you are not comfortable returning to yet.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember it is okay to take a step back.