Anxiety as Precautions Lift

After almost a year and a half dealing with Covid-19 and some of the most uncertain times we have seen, the end of the tunnel is fast approaching. With restrictions in Kelowna, Vancouver, and Victoria planning to be lifted fully by September, with that comes hope, but also for many it also comes with uneasiness, fear, and even more uncertainty. We here at Waypoint Counselling Network have been hearing many Kelowna residents voicing concerns about the lifting of Covid-19 precautions and restrictions, and feeling anxious about reopening after Covid. While you might feel like the only person who is experiencing anxiety about restrictions easing and quite concerned with the reopenings planned (such as travel, indoor dining, and indoor hangouts), you are not alone. In a recent survey, roughly half of Canadians are anxious about the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and precautions.

 While it might be true that cases are finally beginning to fall, we must not become complacent. There are still things everyone must do to ensure we can fully reopen in September safely.

If you are feeling anxious about the current Covid-19 precautions advised by the Provincial government, remember you can always go above and beyond when taking precautions for yourself. Wear two masks and gloves if it makes you feel safer, cross the street to avoid people. Doing this might make you feel like you stand out and it could seem like all eyes are on you.  But this is completely normal and happens to all of us.  It is more likely that no one perceives the things you think they do. We are all trying our best to navigate this pandemic and be as safe as possible. When we see people taking extra precautions, it is hard to not feel impressed by a person’s commitment, and it can make everyone feel safer when taking the bus or going out.

There are many more ways to handle anxiety around the reopening of BC. Don’t rush going out because of peer pressure or because you think you need to be “normal”. Take your time returning to places you feel comfortable and remind yourself that these feelings are completely normal. While on the surface it might seem that friends and family are not as worried or careful as you, remember that this is new to all of us all and some people might cope differently.

 If there are people in your life you know are not listening to the restrictions, remember that you absolutely don’t need to see them if you are uncomfortable. Maybe start with seeing people just one-on-one for the time outside where the risk is quite low. Some final things you could do to curb your anxiety are to limit your exposure to the news and social media, and make sure you get your information from somewhere you trust. You could also compile a list of things that make you anxious, order them from least to most anxiety inducing, and then go through the list using small steps to become more confident in your safety.  And finally, it always helps to talk it over with someone.  At Waypoint Counselling Network, we can match you with a counsellor who can help you develop strategies to deal with any worries and anxiety you might be feeling. We have counsellors in Kelowna, Victoria, the Cowichan Valley and Vancouver.  All of our counsellors also provide online counselling via phone or secure video link so no matter where you are, there is someone to talk with.  Sometimes the first step is the most important one, so reach out, we are here to help.