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Social Reintegration: Preparing for Post-COVID Life

The constant change and uncertainty of the past year have led many individuals to feel more comfortable staying at home. While this is understandable, connecting with others is important for our mental wellness. As COVID restrictions lift, it is natural that some individuals will struggle with social reintegration. Our social skills are like muscles that get weak if not used. So, be patient and consider these tips as you ramp of social interaction. .

Pace yourself. Your pace may be different from the pace of others, but only you can decide how quickly you want to reintegrate.

Be selective and patient. This past year may have shown you how busy your life had become. You do not have to engage in all of your pre-COVID activities, even when it’s safe to do so. Imagine activities or situations that make you feel anxious before you engage in them. This will help prepare you mentally and emotionally for what you will experience. There will be ups and downs as you re-engage, so give yourself time to adjust.

Re-establish routines. COVID may have disrupted or created new routines for you or your family.  You now have the chance to re-establish routines that give you back a sense of control and help you navigate the stress of resuming activities.

Blend pre-COVID and post-COVID coping skills. To get through COVID, you may have used less-healthy coping skills such as eating habits, changes in exercise, alcohol use, etc. Or you may have developed new healthy skills with the extra time you’ve had at home. Now is an opportunity to take what worked well pre-COVID and combine it with what you have learned – choosing the best of both. You can use this to move toward a “new normal.”

By taking the time to ready yourself mentally, you will be better prepared to enjoy post-pandemic life. For more information and resources, visit www.PennFounation.org.