How best to combat ‘Re-Entry anxiety’

(NewsNation Now) — After a year of feeling cooped up, shut in and isolated because of the pandemic, re-engaging with society, work and school may feel overwhelming or stressful. It’s a phenomenon that’s been coined “Re-Entry anxiety.”

The impact might be even harder for those who already struggle with anxiety.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. John Duffy says he’s seeing an “enormous uptick” of patients asking for advice on reconnecting in a healthy way.

“And a lot of people are wondering whether they have still the skills to connect with other people the way they used to, before the pandemic,” said Duffy. “And for some of us, there is a practice effect that we’re going to need to exercise in order to really feel good being out in the world.”

He explained that people should pay attention to what specifically might be causing any degree of anxiety so you can ease back in to societal obligations.

“So you really have to be careful to make sure that you don’t do anything that’s going to overtly interfere with your life. That’s the way to kind of manage that Re-Entry anxiety,” said Duffy.

According to Duffy, the key is to move forward into an uncomfortable situation but not in a way that causes you extreme stress.

“So ease into that transition, but definitely move. You want to hold yourself accountable. So make sure that another adult knows that you’re on this mission to get yourself re-engaged in the world,” stated Duffy.

He encourages the same approach for parents and children, reminding all of them that ‘pandemic normal’ hasn’t always been their day to day lives.

“And get out there no matter what. Take a deep breath and take the first move. And remember, you have been here and you’ve done this before,” said Duffy.