On the latest episode of Shit We Don’t Talk About, Mia is joined again by Drew Linsalata, host of The Anxious Truth podcast (and full disclosure – producer of Shit We Don’t Talk About). Mia and Drew discuss post-pandemic re-entry issues and anxieties as the world emerges from the long COVID shutdown. Lot’s to go over in this one, so tune in!
- The tail-end of the COVID-19 global pandemic involves two different worries/anxiety centers. Vaccine anxiety, and the anxiety surrounding returning to “normal” social interactions and the usual pressures and demands of life.
- Many people are experiencing mixed feelings and emotions over our return to normal. If you are happy that the pandemic is ending, but also NOT happy that the pandemic is ending, know that you are not alone. It’s been over a year of being “let off the hook” in many ways, and a large number of people are struggling with being BACK on the hook!
- The “old normal” kinda sucked for a whole lot of people. The past 16 months have really shone a light on things that were and still are seriously wrong with the way we’re conducting business, interacting with each other, and supporting (or NOT supporting) each other.
- The start of the pandemic was marked by predictions of awakening and enlightenment and foundational shifts in the way we live our lives. As it turns out, by and large we just got lazy, soft, and the awakening train seems to have left the station with very few passengers on it. The realization that nothing has changed is hitting people hard and contributing to re-entry distress and anxiety.
- One common source of post-pandemic anxiety is centered on body image. Many of us gained weight and maybe didn’t take great care of ourselves. For some, showing themselves again comes with shame, disappointment, and embarrassment.
- In any discussion of re-entry anxieties, we MUST acknowledge that many many people experienced no change in the last 16 months. While a large segment of the population was given a bit of a break, many people essential to the economy kept things going day after day. Not everybody is dealing with re-entry anxiety because some people never exited! We owe those folks our thanks and our gratitude.
- If you’re feeling the mental health impacts of being forced to stay home, isolate, and interact with the world via Zoom and webcams, returning to “normal” maybe both welcomed and anxiety-producing. This is normal and OK.
- There is a large number of people that are struggling with pre-existing mental health conditions like panic disorder and agoraphobia that suddenly found themselves in a world where avoidant behavior was encouraged and rewarded for more than a year. Having that taken away is causing real struggles in those populations.
- The pandemic created an environment where bad habits concerning food, fitness, alcohol and even some recreational drug use were able to flourish. As pandemic restrictions end and society begins to open up, the aftermath of too much food, too much drink, and too much time off is taking a toll on many. In some cases, the re-adjustment is not an easy one.
- Some people are now struggling as being forced to return to normal also means confronting the reality of what really happened for the last 16 months. It became a bit too easy to forget that people were becoming seriously ill, and dying. Feelings of guilt are more common than you may think. If you’re feeling a bit guilty for having treated this as a vacation at times, know you are not alone.
- Vaccine, or no vaccine? Clearly, the choice to be vaccinated or not is still a topic of discussion. Fear of short-term side effects, new variants, concern over long-term vaccine safety issues, and political ideologies are contributing to keeping a large segment of the population out of the vaccination game. This is creating stress on a daily basis, as social division is likely to do.
- HOW DO WE RETURN TO NORMAL? Many of us are simply unsure of what to do now. Are we masking? Not masking? Hugging? Gathering indoors? Over time, restrictions will continue to lift. Until that happens we’re all forced to navigate through uncertain situations involving health and safety choices, and choices regarding personal morals, ethics, and beliefs. Re-opening after a global shutdown is difficult enough. Not being sure exactly how to do that doesn’t make it any easier.
About Drew Linsalata
Drew is creator and host of The Anxious Truth Podcast and author of The Anxious Truth – A Step By Step Guide to Understanding and Overcoming Panic, Anxiety and Agoraphobia. Drew is also the owner of HELIX Interactive podcast and audiobook production.
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