By Erica Marriaga, MSW, LCSW
When you glance at the photo to the left, do you automatically roll your eyes or get a little annoyed? Do you find a sense of comfort? Factually, a mask is being worn and hand sanitizer is being used.
Regardless of your reaction, or lack of reaction, you are entitled and allowed to “feel what you are feeling.”
Do you ever remember thinking, this pandemic will never end and things will never go back to normal? Or the dreaded “new normal?” Do you remember what you were thinking, feeling, or doing last year as the summer months were approaching?
Fast forward to now. With the positive rates of COVID-19 declining, and the increasing number of vaccinations administered, several of the mandates are being lifted. What are you thinking now and how are you feeling? Are you nervous or excited?
- Complete removal of all percentage capacity limits for indoor and outdoor businesses, and houses of worship
- Complete removal of outdoor gathering limit
- Eliminating Mask Requirement in Outdoor Public Spaces
- Summer and overnight camps open for 2021 season
- Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing themselves, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- Unvaccinated people must wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart, and wash your hands
Transitions elicit emotions and the past year has been filled with transitions.
Virtual life has been a constant over the past year. Technology has been utilized to allow for in-home careers, schooling, and entertainment. Many people have become accustomed to this way of life. Others have struggled. With the lifting of restrictions, a transition, it is common to experience anxiety.
Transitions May Cause Anxiety
Post pandemic, anxiety continues to become more prevalent. The most common symptoms of anxiety can be broken down into emotional and physical.
You might experience feelings of apprehension or dread, restlessness, or irritability. Physically, you might notice a racing heart, sweating, headache, or upset stomach. Although the physical symptoms of anxiety can mimic a heart attack, there is no real threat. Our bodies and minds believe we are in danger.
Anxiety drives people to avoid the things that scare them. When a “scary” thing is avoided, there is an immediate but short-lived sense of relief. However, the next time a similar threat arises, it feels even scarier. This creates a harmful cycle of avoidance and worsening anxiety.
It is normal to worry about stepping outside of your comfort zone. If you do not feel comfortable attending gatherings because you did or did not get the vaccine, you are entitled to this worry.
Here are some things to ask yourself when you are experiencing anxiety:
- What is the worst case scenario?
- What is the best case scenario
- What is the likely scenario?
You are allowed to experience your emotions while also controlling your environment! If you are not comfortable stepping outside of your comfort zone, consider the questions above.
The worst case scenario is usually scary, because that is what we are most afraid of happening.
The best case scenario is usually not thought of, because our minds tend to focus on the negative when anxiety is experienced.
Lastly, we want to try and focus our minds on what will most likely happen out of the scenarios we have listed.
If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulties, a licensed therapist or counselor can help you take the first step.
Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her one-eyed rescue dog, Toby, and new puppy, Tucker. She loves to spend time with her husband and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist.
EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.
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