GREENSBORO, N.C. — As COVID-19 restrictions lift, many of us are facing a new problem: the stress and anxiety dealing with a new normal. In Tuesday's 2 Your Well-Being, we discussed COVID-19's impact on mental health and how to move forward.
Clinical psychologist and clinical director of LeBauer Behavioral Medicine Dr. David Gutterman said this past year has impacted everyone. It's been a significant learning curve and we are just now beginning to grapple with the impact on mental health.
Dr. Gutterman said one of the main issues he is seeing is how to deal with the anxiety and fear people have gathering again after such a long time of separation especially without masks. If you are having anxiety, manage it by staying up to date on the facts about COVID-19.
Get that information from a reliable source and make sure you have the facts. They will help guide you. Gutterman said to also make sure you are taking care of yourself. Make sure you are eating well and getting enough exercise. The most important thing Gutterman said is to evaluate what is your standards are that will help you re-enter back into a new normal.
Gutterman said when you are around someone who is maybe questioning you on your choices, stay in your own lane unless they are posing a physical risk to you. That could be being violent but that could also be someone who refuses to wear a mask around you even if you or they are not vaccinated and you have asked them to. It's important you remain comfortable and remember you always have the option to leave.
We hear "getting back to normal" frequently, but for some that reference is difficult. Perhaps for those who lost a loved one or for a long-hauler still experiencing symptoms, there is no "back to normal."
Gutterman said it's important to recognize that life is always throwing us changes and we are always evolving. He said to not get so locked into getting back to normal but evaluating what life after COVID-19 looks like for everyone. In time you develop a new normal.
If you are struggling with mental health, Gutterman said to reach out sooner than later. It's important to recognize that we are going through abnormal times and you are not the only one dealing with similar feelings.