From the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Catalyst Newsletter–The coronavirus pandemic has introduced a long list of reasons to feel anxious. For months the country has been in virtual lockdown, with physical distance separating us from each other and turning the world as we knew it on its head. Now, as the country begins to reopen, new concerns are emerging, and return or re-entry anxiety is setting in for many.
“I think there are going to be two main types of reactions,” said Dr. Keith Dobson, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Calgary. “One will be the ongoing stresses and anxiety associated with COVID-19. These include renegotiating social norms to ensure safe distancing, deciding when it is safe to send children to school, and coping with fears of possible new waves or outbreaks of infection.”
While concerns over physical health and safety are plentiful and can cause strong stress reactions, there are a host of other, more individual stressors as well. “The second big issue,” said Dobson, “is facing the reality of the personal and economic losses associated with the pandemic.”
For some, this will mean venturing out into a job market they weren’t prepared to explore. For others, anxiety could come from losing some of the benefits of quarantine, such as remote work and more free time.
One thing is certain — re-opening the country doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. As we begin to see more restrictions lifted, it will be important to recognize that what feels positive for one person might feel like a setback for someone else.