Fear of going out? Doctor has tips as life returns to normal

After more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions, many people spent the long weekend reuniting with loved ones. But a psychologist said others are now struggling with post-pandemic anxiety.”Think about it: We’re over 15 months into this pandemic and over a year into mask-wearing being normal,” said Dr. Shilagh Mirgain with UW Health. “We had finally just kind of adjusted to this change in life only to have it shaken up overnight a few weeks ago with the change in guidelines. Sister station WISN asked what such drastic changes do to a person’s psyche.”Many people are experiencing a fear of going out: FOGO, and before the pandemic, we had FOMO: fear of missing out, but during the pandemic we kept safe by staying at home, by limiting social interaction,” Mirgain said. “So people are feeling an uptick in anxiety going back out and doing regular things.”But what should people be doing to take care of themselves?”We don’t want to let anxiety dictate our lives,” Mirgain said. “Instead with anxiety, if you’re having a fear of going out, is to approach, to slowly start to engage in activities the CDC deems safe that you’ve missed out on, that bring joy. Lessen that anxiety and improve quality of life.”According to the American Psychological Association, nearly half of those surveyed said they felt uneasy about returning to in-person interactions, whether they had been vaccinated or not.

After more than a year of COVID-19 restrictions, many people spent the long weekend reuniting with loved ones.

But a psychologist said others are now struggling with post-pandemic anxiety.

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“Think about it: We’re over 15 months into this pandemic and over a year into mask-wearing being normal,” said Dr. Shilagh Mirgain with UW Health. “We had finally just kind of adjusted to this change in life only to have it shaken up overnight a few weeks ago with the change in guidelines.

Sister station WISN asked what such drastic changes do to a person’s psyche.

“Many people are experiencing a fear of going out: FOGO, and before the pandemic, we had FOMO: fear of missing out, but during the pandemic we kept safe by staying at home, by limiting social interaction,” Mirgain said. “So people are feeling an uptick in anxiety going back out and doing regular things.”

But what should people be doing to take care of themselves?

“We don’t want to let anxiety dictate our lives,” Mirgain said. “Instead with anxiety, if you’re having a fear of going out, is to approach, to slowly start to engage in activities the CDC deems safe that you’ve missed out on, that bring joy. Lessen that anxiety and improve quality of life.”

According to the American Psychological Association, nearly half of those surveyed said they felt uneasy about returning to in-person interactions, whether they had been vaccinated or not.

Contributed by local news sources

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