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There's light at the end of the pandemic tunnel - but now we're feeling "returning to normal anxiety"

Posted at 2:48 PM, Apr 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 16:48:03-04

With the two-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us, there's light at the end of the tunnel!

A lot of Utahns are going back to the office for the first time after working from home at least part-time the past couple of years, and social gatherings are really starting to pick up, especially with Spring Break and summer right around the corner.

It's a lot to figure out how to juggle everything like we used to and some of us may be experiencing "Returning to Normal Anxiety."

Dr. Karl Martineau, a psychiatrist at St. Mark's Hospital, joined us with some tips to reduce the anxiety of returning to normal.

Dr. Martineau says it's important to recognize that your feelings are legitimate and acknowledge the grief you and society as a whole, has seen. And, plan and visualize. That means think about the small details like what you're going to wear, or what your commute will look like. You'll remove some uncertainty and unproductive worry and can focus more on the big picture.

We also need to remember to take things one day at a time. When it comes to social interaction, we may want to go from zero to 60. It might be tempting to make lots of plans and say "yes" to everything now that restrictions have lifted, but that can be overwhelming. There's no need to rush.

Dr. Martineau also reminds us to make time to relax, away from all of the new chaos.

If you start feeling overwhelmed, channel some of that negative energy into action. Do whatever you can to emerge from the heaviness with a level of positivity. There is no better way than volunteering and giving back to do that. That will do wonders for your mental and emotional health.

Perhaps most importantly, talk to someone about how you feel. Whether that's a family member, friend, a helpline or a doctor. Realizing that it may be time to consult with a psychiatrist is not "weak", it's about prioritizing your health.

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