3 Ways to Ease Re-Entry Anxiety

Vaccinations are increasing, but many worry about venturing out

TammyTierney
ILLUMINATION
Published in
7 min readApr 16, 2021

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Experts advise pacing yourself and taking small steps over time. Photo by Tim Douglas from Pexels

I was genuinely excited to get my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine last Friday.

After living through lockdown in a rural North Carolina county where residents — to this day — remain at very high risk for COVID-19, it felt like a tremendous weight was lifted.

Although at least one in nine people living in my county has been infected since the start of the pandemic, I still see folks without masks every single day.

At the very least, I thought, the weekly trip to the grocery store will no longer feel so fraught.

Fatigued and suffering from chills, achy muscles, and a headache, I spent most of the weekend recovering from the common side effects of the second shot. Stuck on the sofa, I tried reading a book, but my mind quickly turned to wondering when “real life” would resume.

My husband, a therapist, was vaccinated several months ago. Like most everyone we know, we’re eager to get out and about. A beach trip, dinner with friends, a movie, a yoga class, a concert — all are on our wish list.

And yet, anxiety lingers. As it turns out, we’re not alone in worrying about venturing back into the world.

The pandemic amped up anxiety

More than 80 percent of American adults said they never imagined that the pandemic would last as long as it has, according to a recent survey from the American Psychological Association.

Nearly 70 percent said that living through the pandemic “has been a rollercoaster of emotions,” and 47 percent said the stress in their lives has increased.

Even as vaccinations increase, many feel hesitant about the future, the APA reported. Forty-nine percent of those surveyed said they’re uneasy about in-person interactions once the pandemic ends. Adults who’ve been vaccinated were just as likely to report concern as those who haven’t.

The APA also found that 46 percent of adults say they’re not comfortable going back to living life as they did before the pandemic. Again, the numbers were strikingly similar between those who’ve been vaccinated, 44 percent, and those who haven’t, 46…

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TammyTierney
ILLUMINATION

Former reporter/editor now freelancing from the base of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. I write about business, health and mental health.