It’s no surprise that mental health issues such as anxiety and depression have increased drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures, loss of employment and income, and the fear of getting the virus were sources of added stress for millions of people worldwide.

As restrictions are lifted and people are getting vaccinated, many people are still anxious about a post-COVID future. And that feeling is perfectly normal. There’s a lot of uncertainty about what life will look like, and with that much unpredictability, it’s hard to plan anything long-term, which makes people uneasy.

How the pandemic changed our lives

Most of our daily routines have changed over the past year and will change again after COVID restrictions are fully lifted. While navigating change comes easy to some, the transition is stressful for others, and change is often seen as a threat, especially when there is no clarity about what the future holds post-lockdown.

The pandemic has also transformed a lot of lives. People have lost loved ones, jobs, and in many cases, their good health if they survived a severe case of COVID. Although more people are getting vaccinated and getting more comfortable resuming normal activities, not everyone is excited to return to pre-pandemic life.

Two of the most common mental health issues surrounding lifted restrictions are anxiety and depression, but another common reaction is dissociation.

Dissociation is an involuntary coping mechanism, and it means disconnecting from the world around you to relieve fear and anxiety. It’s a natural response to high-stress situations, and it presents as mild or severe. Mild dissociation looks like “zoning out” or daydreaming, while more severe cases can make you feel detached from your body.

How to cope with fear and anxiety as things go back to normal

Being able to go without a mask, going out to eat at restaurants and socializing in general, and going back to the gym are common concerns as things start to open up and states begin lifting restrictions.

If returning to your pre-pandemic routine is causing anxiety, you can make incremental changes- don’t try to jump back into everything simultaneously.

Family and friends may not understand your hesitation to jump right back into pre-pandemic life. Be upfront about your feelings and set clear boundaries about what you’re comfortable with right now and what you’re not, even if you receive some pushback.

Self-care should be a priority during these times more than ever, especially the basics such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and staying hydrated. Some other things you can do if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed are:

  • Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises or meditation

  • Getting outside for a walk or just a change of scenery

  • Unplug from the news and social media

  • Make time to do something you enjoy every day

When to seek treatment

It’s very normal to feel nervous about things opening up. Still, if you feel overwhelmed in trying to reacclimate or extremely fearful of resuming activities that you enjoyed pre-pandemic, there are resources available.

Call Serene Health at 844-737-3638 or visit us at to schedule an appointment.