“As COVID-19 vaccinations continue, and cities and states move toward full re-opening, many people are feeling re-entry anxiety — an uneasiness about returning to the old normal of schools and offices, hugs and handshakes, and social gatherings large and small.
The American Psychological Association reports that Americans are experiencing the highest levels of stress since April 2020, and that half of surveyed adults are uneasy about returning to in-person interactions. It’s as if each of us, having spent the last year adrift in space, alone or in our small pods, now has to navigate a re-entry into co-existence.
“Re-entering the busy world will be a new type of stress, because we’re not used to it anymore,” said Elissa Epel, Ph.D., professor and vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry. “It simply has a lot of challenges embedded into it: being in traffic, getting to work on time, parking, managing family schedules, and having social interactions all day. Those are the small things that can add up to leave you feeling overstimulated or exhausted, making it an unpleasant transition.”
Emotional well-being webinars:
With the UCSF Alumni Association and the Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences Department, Elissa Epel has created a new webinar series focused on facilitating re-entry.
It covers grief and building resilience, overcoming pandemic fatigue, anti-racism at work, helping children return to school, and coping with wildfires and climate crises.
It is open to the public as well as health care workers.