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Your Guide to Reintegrating with Society after COVID

As cities around the world begins to reopen, it is important to formulate a plan for reintegrating into the society.

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View of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro in Paris, France.
View of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro in Paris, France.

Cities around the world have started to re-open for business. After spending months in quarantine or self-isolation, the thought of getting back out into the world can feel both exciting and daunting. You’re ready to get out of your house, but how can you safely get back to going to work, visiting the doctor, attending self-care appointments, dating, or socializing with your friends?

Here are some suggestions for how you can re-enter your community and feel more comfortable going out in public as cities begin to open for business.

1. Avoid overdoing it

You might feel eager to do everything you’ve been putting off for several months now that restrictions are lifted in your city, but it’s best to take things one step at a time. You’ve likely forgotten how exhausting socializing can be after spending so long in isolation.

Space out your schedule so you still have downtime in between medical appointments, personal care services, and social engagements. You might want to start by scheduling one outing a week to see how it goes. It’s OK to take things slow. Remember, we’re all readjusting to this new way of living.

2. Start with Short Outings First

Adults and children alike may struggle to be outside the home for a full day at first. There are psychological reasons behind this, which researchers are still working to fully identify as a result of COVID-19. What we already know is that isolation can cause an increase in stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. You may start to feel anxious in public and find you’re unable to handle a trip to the grocery store the same way today that you could have a year ago.

On top of the added stress of being around other people, you will need to figure out the new processes that businesses are using to keep people safe. Start small and give yourself time to acclimate to how things are being run in your city before you start packing your calendar.

3. Create Expectations for In-Person Dating

If you have been dating virtually, you might be getting excited about the prospect of moving things to in-person dating. Be honest with yourself as you set expectations for how that might look now that quarantine is ending. What sorts of public activities are available that you would feel safe attending on a date? Do you feel comfortable inviting a date over to your home, or would you prefer to keep your dates in public settings? Have you left things out of your virtual conversations that you should let your date know about before you start getting more serious? Are you ready to settle down, or are you looking for more of a fling right now?

Be honest with yourself before you schedule your first in-person date. Your answers will depend on how well you know the person, what your expectations are, and what options are available in your city.

We’re all figuring out how to navigate our new normal, and it’s natural to be both excited and apprehensive about getting back into the world. Use these tips to gently reintegrate yourself into your community so you can safely go to work, see your friends, and take care of yourself.

References:

Effects of Social Isolation on Your Mental Health: What to Expect. (2020, June 07). Retrieved September 08, 2020, from https://mesasprings.com/blog/social-isolation/

Leikas, S., & Ilmarinen, V. (2016, July 14). Happy Now, Tired Later? Extraverted and Conscientious Behavior Are Related to Immediate Mood Gains, but to Later Fatigue. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopy.12264

Offord, C. (2020, July 13). How Social Isolation Affects the Brain. Retrieved September 08, 2020, from https://www.the-scientist.com/features/how-social-isolation-affects-the-brain-67701

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