Spending weeks in quarantine was not part of anyone’s plans for 2020. But as stay-at-home orders are lifted, dealing with the anxiety of leaving quarantine might well be something you don’t feel prepared for.
When I got into drug rehab, I wanted to recover and leave as quickly as possible. It was strange to hear so many recovering addicts at the end of their rehab journeys expressing a wish that they could stay a bit longer.
By the time my discharge date arrived, I understood exactly how they felt. Drug rehab was incredibly tough and I missed my regular life. However, the knowledge that I was leaving rehab brought up anxieties about not only my triggers, but getting used to doing things for myself as well.
As quarantine comes to an end, I’m experiencing similar anxieties. I haven’t had to manage many of my triggers in quite a while. And tasks that used to be second nature, like running errands and going grocery shopping, now seem almost overwhelming.
This struggle might be particularly poignant for those of us who have battled addiction and anxiety, but many people are going through it for the first time. The world appears much more difficult to contend when you’ve dealt with such a low level of stimulation for so long.
If you’re worried about dealing with the anxiety of leaving quarantine, here are some tips to help you along the way.
When you leave drug rehab, you don’t return to complete independence immediately. On the contrary, you start aftercare programs, attend groups and meetings, and see a therapist. There is no reason not to get similar help in today’s scenario.
If you haven’t been seeing a therapist during quarantine, now is a good time to start. It may also be a good idea to start attending support groups and meetings again. Book an appointment with your psychiatrist if you think you might need an adjustment of your anxiety medication.
Keep some quarantine habits
Now that you can leave your home more freely, you might feel like you have to go back to life as normal. The reality is that the world is not yet back to normal, and won’t be for a while. Furthermore, we have learned over the past few months that certain things can be done differently.
You don’t need to go to the grocery store just because you can do so with more freedom now. The extra cash spent on service and delivery costs might well be worth it to avoid a trip that drains time and energy.
If working from home has made your life easier, especially since you don’t have to deal with travel time and other admin, find out whether you can continue working from home some of the time.
COVID-19 is still reason to stay home
Another important factor to take into account is that COVID-19 is not over. If you’re like me, you are not ready to start seeing anyone and everyone again. You are still anxious about your chances of getting the virus. This is not an unreasonable concern, and you should take that into account when saying no to plans.
You might feel guilty about not meeting up with friends and family who don’t take the threat as seriously, but you need to consider both your mental and physical wellbeing. Just like you would be careful about which plans to say yes to after leaving rehab, allow yourself to do the same after quarantine.
Ultimately, the way you approach life after quarantine should not be about anyone but yourself. The anxiety is natural. Get the help you need and take it as slowly as you need to.