Increasing anxiety related to COVID-19 restrictions being lifted

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(WETM) — As many American’s continue to get vaccinated and hospitalizations decreasing, COVID-19 restrictions are starting to get lifted in some states. With the loosening of restrictions, the anxiety of returning to work and children heading back to school for in-person learning is on the rise.

“I think it’d be a little weird, I don’t know how to handle it,” said Peter Zimmerman, a student. “I’m gonna be completely honest, but I definitely think we should, we should continue to wear masks and social distance as much as possible.”

Zimmerman said the thought of New York reopening like Texas and Florida raises some concerns.

“Yeah, I would definitely be a little nervous because COVID is still kind of spreading,” Zimmerman said. “Even though it’s kind of getting a little bit better, not everybody is vaccinated yet.”

One woman has been working throughout the pandemic. She said her concern is for the most vulnerable, like the elderly, in the community.

“I don’t have any anxieties for me personally, I’ve been working the whole time anyway,” said Holly Seager. “But for those that have health issues, I would feel like there’s definitely some anxiety over that.”

The Director of Behavioral Health at Guthrie Family Medicine, Dr. Danielle Terry said if your anxiety is increasing as restrictions get removed, you are not alone.

“There’s a study that was done by the American Psychological Association that showed, over half of the people have some anxiety about things going back to life as it was before the pandemic,” Dr. Terry said. “Whether or not they’ve had the vaccine, they’re experiencing some of that anxiety and that, that discomfort with going back to the way things might have been, there’s a level of uncertainty, and people have lots of questions.”

Some questions people continue to ask themselves are: How long is the vaccine going too late for? When will I be able to see my friends and family again? and is it safe to return back to work or school? She said unanswered questions will lead to more stress and anxiety.

Dr. Terry said the best thing we can do is keep listening to recommendations from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention, and the World Health Organization. She also suggests keeping an open mind when restrictions get lifted and recognize that there will be a lot of unknowns, as we go back to the workplace.

“If we’re treating ourselves and each other with grace as we navigate this return, or as things loosen up just to recognize that there’s going to be some anxiety and that’s pretty typical given that we’re exhausted by having to constantly ask ourselves these questions.”

Dr. Terry told 18 News if you are experiencing a lot of stress and concerns, speak with your doctor to get your questions answered.

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