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9 things that weren’t scary before the pandemic but are now

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9 things that weren't scary before the pandemic but are now

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The world is not yet completely safe, but vaccinated people whose states have reopened to some extent may find themselves in a strange and annoying environment.

People with obsessive-compulsive disorder and cleansing rituals, trauma, or anxiety disorders can have an especially difficult time re-acclimatizing.

“What was familiar no longer seems so familiar,” said Lynn Bufka, senior director of transformation and quality practices at the American Psychological Association. “For almost a year now, we’ve been getting messages from not being with others, from being distant … then the idea that‘ Oh, there are ways we can be with others and it’s okay. ’So it’s understandable that it feels different, at least if it causes anxiety or stress. ”

Anxiety can serve as a warning about situations in which we should pay attention and with which we should be careful, Bufka added. These are the experiences and places that can lead to apprehension as the world reopens and the advice experts have to handle them.

Eye contact

If you’ve socially moved away from home, the only people you’ve had eye contact with lately are likely to be your roommates, store tellers, and co-workers through a screen.

In a maskless future, “you may want to look down because you’re scared,” said Jane Webber, an assistant professor of education for counselors and coordinator of doctoral programs at Kean University in New Jersey. “Overall, just eye contact and a little smile that I call ‘Mona Lisa smile’ fills people on the other side with a very nice feeling. They’ll reflect what you do.”

Eye contact is the easiest interaction to begin with, as it reintroduces us to connect and show us that we care, said Webber, who teaches about trauma, stress, and coping skills.

Being among crowds

If you’ve recently seen a movie shot before the pandemic, it’s likely that the crowded scenes look a little quirky. While we’re still a long way from big gatherings, you may soon find yourself getting closer and closer to grocery stores or mass transit.

As a psychologist, Webber has taught students a “circle of protective space.” “We’ll put a rope or ribbon on the ground and (ask),‘ What size circle do you need to feel safe in a crowd? “Most people will say, ‘I need space in front of me or by my side.'”

Once you’ve decided how much space you need, strategically use your elbows or legs or an object (like a shopping bag or grocery cart) to create it. When you need people to respect your boundaries, kindly tell them, “I just need a little more space.”

If you’re panicking, Webber suggested focusing on your breathing and telling yourself, “I’ll be out of here in a few minutes.” Move slowly with the crowd and towards the perimeters until you find space.

Shake hands and hug

In the early days of the pandemic, whether to shake hands was a matter of debate. Now, most don’t. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, strongly advised breaking it down. millennial cultural norm – for good. As people meet more often, if you come across someone holding out their hand, the germ factor can cause you an instinctive backlash.

“We’re social people,” Webber said. “You (can) reach out and then reach out and tell people it’s a natural feeling.”

If you’re feeling anxious right now, waving or hitting your elbows is fine, Webber said. “Let people know you’re still a little nervous,” he added. “In doing so, we have established a connection and they (will have) empathy.”

The idea of ​​a hug can be even more terrifying. Equally, in this year of social distancing, we have become “offline,” Webber said. But now is not yet the time to embrace everyone you see. If you or someone outside your household who is interested in you wants an affectionate touch, give yourself a “butterfly” hug by wrapping your arms around, touching each shoulder, and “sending” that person. If someone leans over a hug, kindly express their concerns and start a butterfly hug.

Tie up or make an appointment

If you grab a coffee and someone asks for an appointment, your brain may be sweeping your memory to know how to respond to such an unknown request.

You can take it slowly if you’re not ready, Bufka said. Suggest that you both start by exchanging phone numbers, and then move on to virtual dates.

New intimate relationships

Moving from flirting to the first date may seem like a lost art. Also, the pandemic may have added some unusual questions to your list of knowledge: has this person been vaccinated? What do you think of the Covid-19 vaccine and masks? How has it behaved during the pandemic? Is it asymptomatic?

These questions are exactly what you should do to find out if your love interest shares your values ​​and if you want the relationship to go further, Bufka said. The answers on your date would indicate if you both agree on the level of risk, what precautions to take, and what risks are right.

Approach the conversation gently, humbly, and without judgment, Bufka advised. Share what behaviors you tried to prioritize during the pandemic and why, and who cares to know what your appointment did. If you want to get serious, “you could have a conversation like this is something you’d like to do,” Bufka added.

If you’re nervous about physical intimacy, acknowledge that it’s okay. “Like,‘ Wow, I haven’t kissed anyone in a year. I’ve forgotten how to do it. ”You can take it a little happier,” Bufka said. If you are not yet vaccinated, be honest and say you do not want to risk your health.

Share public spaces

You are sitting on a bench when someone asks you to sit next to you. Should you leave them? If you don’t, what might the other person think of you?

Before these situations, you could rehearse by saying something like, “I’m sorry, I’m not vaccinated yet. I’d rather keep my distance,” Bufka said. If you have been vaccinated, you may be wondering what your concerns are and whether they are still realistic, according to current health guidelines.

Share objects to help others

If someone asked you to start the car, you would probably want to help them. But you should do it and who will if you don’t?

Change the situation to make it more comfortable, said Jacqueline Gollan, who has two professors at Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago: one in psychiatry and behavioral science and another in obstetrics and gynecology.

“Take small steps to control your anxiety, socialize and mitigate the real risk,” Gollan said in an email. You can have hand sanitizers and masks readily available for these situations. “If you can’t reduce anxiety, see if you can change the negative predictions by taking your anxiety ‘to court.’ Evaluate the data suggesting (if) you have a high chance of getting sick while getting vaccinated.”

Cosmetic and spa services

Imagine: the pandemic is finally over and you would love to relax with a massage. However, there is only one problem: cosmetic and spa services may not feel as relaxing, even at the bottom of a pandemic.

Asking the company what precautions they have taken and going somewhere else if they don’t meet your standards is fine.

Back to work

Those of us who still work from home have been able to do our things in terms of how and where we work. We didn’t have to worry about meeting people and the risk of Covid-19.

When you return to the office, what can be most frightening is the loss of control over your health bubble and your routine, said Ravi S. Gajendran, chair of the department of management and global management at Florida International University and associate professor at the College of Business. You may no longer be used to ironing clothes, being visible below the shoulders, and interacting personally.

What you can do is accept that the transition will be terrifying, disruptive and slow, Gajendran said. Focus on being prepared for what you can control, which includes wearing a hand sanitizer and wearing a mask.

You know that office work is likely to differ from what was pre-pandemic, as some companies have implemented seating arrangements or applications to record Covid-19 symptoms. If your workplace has not established clear safety policies, report your concerns to your supervisor, said Kristen Shockley, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Georgia. An organization that sets standards “creates a shared and common understanding,” he added. “And those people who may feel more cautious don’t feel weird about having to communicate that.”

In general, “take a break,” Gajendran said. Those of us who have been housed during most of the pandemic may feel weird and anxious to readjust to society, but we are on the same boat and can help each other (for sure).

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