UNION, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – After a year of living under COVID restrictions in varying degrees of isolation, some say they are feeling “reentry anxiety” as they begin to socialize again.
“I’m very nervous, especially with my children. I know that they want to go out, and we’re worried about where they’re going,” said Joseph Cangiano of Springfield.READ MORE: Summit One Vanderbilt Observation Deck Opens In Midtown
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“I know a lot of people are like, ‘I can’t wait to start hugging people.’ I actually do feel like, no – I’m OK,” said Natalie Fygetakes of Maplewood.
So what is reentry anxiety?
“Reentry anxiety could involve a number of symptoms for just the sweaty palms to a little bit of nervousness, to a full-on panic attack,” said therapist Laura Rhodes-Levin, founder of the Missing Peace Center for Anxiety.
She recommends focusing on the positives of going out into society.
“It’s natural for us to be out and with each other, and the weird thing about isolation is it really turns us inward, and we become comfortable in this, in this darkness,” she said.READ MORE: Police On Hunt For Occupant Of Black Or Dark Blue Honda Wanted In Westfield, N.J. Home Invasion And Sexual Assault
Clinical psychologist Dr. Bart Rossi says if you are feeling more comfortable than a friend, talk it over.
“How do you feel? You know? How do you feel about, you know, where you are at this point in time? And then make an adjustment in terms of what you can do,” Rossi said.
The thought of being in a crowd may make some feel uncomfortable.
“If it’s around more people, I tend not to go,” one woman said.
“When do you advise people to maybe seek some help?” asked Baker.
“If people feel that they cannot function normally, that they really can’t get back to dating, for example. If they feel that they’re kind of paralyzed, they’re frozen in time, that they’re on the outside of society looking in,” Rossi said.
Experts say: Take it slow. A good first outing may be to sit outside at a restaurant.
Be safe, wear a mask, sanitize – but enjoy your life.MORE NEWS: Street Teams Canvas Neighborhoods To Bring Medical Care To Vulnerable New Yorkers
Meg Baker contributed to this report.