Anxiety and depression rates increased by over 25%* at the onset of the pandemic. Now that the spread of COVID-19 has slowed down, many people are dealing with post-pandemic anxiety. If you are struggling to feel normal after COVID, you are not alone.
Keep reading to get a better understanding of your post-pandemic anxiety and how to handle it.
Why Has My Anxiety Gotten Worse?
When the pandemic first started, thousands of people struggled to adjust to the new ways of life—staying indoors, not seeing family members or friends for long periods, wearing masks, and of course, the fear of getting infected with the virus.
New situations and uncertainty about the future often trigger anxiety, and COVID-19 encompassed both.
Anxiety and COVID-19 go hand in hand. COVID-19 throws people into new situations without warning, and just as quickly, things are thought to be “going back to normal.” Mask mandates are being lifted, vaccines are being administered, and many people act as though the world is how it used to be.
But, it is not as easy for those with anxiety. These individuals become exhausted thinking about things like:
- Going to social events
- Getting vaccinated
- Wearing a mask
- Catching a new variant of the virus
Many people have been through significant life changes in the last two years, and some of those changes were traumatic. From losing a family member to being put out of a job or home, people everywhere have experienced life-changing events because of COVID-19.
Having a high anxiety level at this time is completely valid and understandable.
What Are the Symptoms of Post-Pandemic Anxiety?
There are many side effects of post-pandemic anxiety, including:
Difficulty Managing Stress
If you have an increased difficulty with stress management, you may be dealing with post-pandemic anxiety.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, you might have stressed out about paying bills, going to work, and maintaining your relationships. Now, you do all of that while constantly worrying about your health, loved ones, and entering the world again, which may cause an increase in stress.
Are you having difficulty managing stress? Do you feel overwhelmed with post-pandemic life? Help is available to you. Discover My Options
Higher Levels of Exhaustion or Fatigue
Many people with post-pandemic anxiety find themselves easily exhausted, even if their energy levels were normal before the pandemic.
Re-entering the world, going back to work in the office, and hanging out with friends again might take more energy than you have after the onset of the pandemic. After all, you might not have done these things in nearly two years.
While some people were ready to bounce back to “normal life,” those with post-pandemic anxiety might need more time to do so.
Questioning Yourself Often
After the pandemic, you might find yourself questioning everything. You might ask yourself:
- Should I go to this social event?
- Should I still shake hands?
- Can I hug people?
- Are mass vaccination sites safe?
- Should I get vaccinated?
- Should I still maintain distance from others?
- Am I acting normal?
- What is normal now?
If you think about these questions a lot, you could be experiencing post-pandemic anxiety.
Do you isolate yourself from others out of fear or anxiety? After being pushed into our homes and told not to leave because of the pandemic, you might feel more inclined to stay home even after it is over.
Staying away from others became standard behavior in 2020, and if you have carried that habit into 2022, you are not alone. Many others struggle with this same symptom of post-pandemic anxiety because they are worried about getting sick or anxious about being around others.
How Can I Manage My Post-Pandemic Anxiety?
Even if you do not want to, you might feel controlled by your post-pandemic anxiety. Dealing with racing thoughts, stress, anxiety, and overthinking may seem normal. Here is how you can take control of these feelings.
Ease Into Your New Normal
Go at your own pace. Do not feel like you have to keep up with others in post-pandemic life—set boundaries or goals for yourself.
Try doing a task that overwhelms you, but take it slow. Go to the grocery store or the movies, or a place you used to go to often once a month or week. Set goals that work for you, and do not focus on keeping up with other people.
If you do not feel comfortable going places without a mask, wear a mask. If you do not wish to go to events where other people are not wearing masks or are not vaccinated, do not force yourself to go. Take it slow, and be patient with yourself as you adjust to the post-pandemic world.
Listen to Your Body
You know when you are anxious because your body tells you. Pay attention to the activities, people, or environments that make you feel anxious to better prepare for them in the future.
If you are tired, listen to your body. Get rest when you feel overly exhausted, drained, or tired. A tired body tends to stay anxious, since you are not giving yourself the time you need to reset and relax.
Do What You Are Comfortable With
Many people have anxiety after the COVID vaccine or feel anxious about getting it. Do what you are comfortable with. If getting the vaccine is causing you stress, talk to your doctor or therapist about your decision.
Do not feel forced into anything you are unsure about, as that could lead to more anxiety. Figure out the best path for you regarding the vaccine and re-entering the world.
If you feel you do not have the tools you need to manage your post-pandemic anxiety, seek treatment. There are several treatment options available for those struggling after the pandemic, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Exercise, yoga, and breathwork
- Art therapy
- Group therapy
There are options available for you, and PCH Treatment Center can help. Find a treatment for your post-pandemic anxiety that works for you today.