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How To Ease Back Into Life After Two Years of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Updated: May 3, 2022

Cleveland Clinic

April 15, 2022 / Mental Health

With the omicron surge in our rearview mirror, there are some signs that the COVID-19 pandemic may finally be loosening its grip on the globe. But while case rates are lower here in the United States, they’re still elevated in other parts of the world, and certain members of the population might need a second booster.

There are a lot of mixed messages to interpret, and that can cause a lot of anxiety and stress as we shift to this next stage, one in which mandates are rolled back and more pre-pandemic behaviors — like in-office work and no mask requirements — return. To get an idea of how we can handle this transition, we spoke to psychologist Matthew Sacco, PhD.

Why do I feel anxious about a ‘return to normal’?

First and foremost, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. It’s OK to still feel anxious about infection, and it’ll take time for some to adjust to feeling safe out in public after two years of isolation and surges.

“We’re creatures of habit,” says Dr. Sacco. “Just as some of us had issues adjusting to new behavior at the beginning of the pandemic, some of us are going to need extra time to adjust to life as we transition out of the pandemic.”

Additionally, many people developed new routines during the pandemic, settling into different work and school environments and adjusting to those new ways of life. Now, routines are shifting again for many of us, even if we’re not returning to exactly how we were before COVID-19. And that means more stress adjusting to yet another new routine.


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