When the New Normal Feels Anything But

Many of us are still struggling to embrace our reopening world - here are some things you can do to help manage the associated stress and anxiety.

Things are changing, again. Businesses are reopening, more of us are going back to work, and it seems like so many people are revelling in their regained freedoms. But what if you aren’t? What if the sight of a grocery store still makes your heart race, and the idea of a haircut feels like a scene from Contagion? Well, for starters, know that you aren’t alone—many of us are still struggling to embrace our reopening world—but also know that there are things you can do to help manage the stress and anxiety that can come from yet another change.

We spoke with one of our care providers, Krishna Vora (MA and Registered Psychotherapist), and here are her tips:

Be gentle with yourself

Recognize that some amount of fear and anxiety is totally normal because our situation still is far from normal. It may take a few weeks—or longer—for you to feel like your old self. The world has changed, and it’s okay that you have, too.  

Know what to expect

Take a moment to research what your experience will be like. Many businesses are posting procedures online or are happy to answer questions by phone. Having a predictable experience can give you a sense of control and ease your nerves. It is also important to be more open and flexible as things are constantly changing.

But don’t overload yourself.

While preparing is important, information can quickly overwhelm. Turn to a trusted source, get the information you need and sign off. If even that feels too much, ask your partner or a friend to find out what you need to know, and then let it go at that.

Take care of your body.

Your physical health is important to your mental health, so keep trying to do all of the things you were taught in health class: more exercise, more healthy foods, more sleep. While indulging in one more episode, one more drink or one more cookie (or one more batch, we’ve been there) might feel like the right choice in the moment, your body will thank you for taking care of it with eased anxiety.

Prepare for change.

If you are heading back to work and know what your routine will look like, start adjusting to it now. Shift your sleep patterns, anticipate scheduling issues (when will you get groceries) and remember to build in extra time for all of the new post-COVID realities, like longer lines in stores, or extra laundry or sanitization.

Reach out if you need help.

Talk to people about how you are feeling. There is no shame in needing support or even just a kind ear. You’ll likely find that you’re not alone, and taking the brave first step to admit your fears will allow space for people you trust and love to do the same. If it feels like you need more than a conversation with a friend, reach out for professional support. Use your benefits if you have them, or access a provincial resource. You don’t need to do this alone.

Change can be overwhelming, but it can also be managed. Take things one step at a time, and soon enough, you will find yourself smoothly sliding into your new normal.

If you could use some support adjusting to the new normal, Inkblot can help. It’s easy to make an appointment with a therapist tailored to your individual needs. Sessions are available as soon as today.

Visit inkblottherapy.com to get started.


Krishna Vora