As COVID-19 vaccines reach more Americans every day, cities and rural areas alike are easing restrictions and looking to “get back to normal.” After more than a year of upheaval, however, you may feel extra anxiety about a return to public gatherings, social functions and, for some, in-person work and school. Here are five tips to help you make the right choices for you.
1. Be Honest with Yourself About How You Feel
For many Americans, the last year has caused huge shifts in daily life, from managing children at home for virtual learning to practicing complex cleaning rituals to shield family members after coming home from essential work. While two out of five people in a CDC survey reported behavioral health issues as of mid-2020, this pandemic also has allowed many people to pull back from an overwhelming pace and focus on family and themselves.
As you think about the coming months, look at which parts of the past year you want to carry into your future. Maybe you adored spending time with your family or focusing on a hobby that brings you joy. Find ways to bring them with you and prioritize them.
2. Know Your Tolerance
Some people have seen little change in their work lives during the pandemic. Others have had their world flipped upside down. Examine how your situation shapes how you think of “normal” and what risks you’re comfortable taking.
If you’ve cloistered yourself for the last year, for example, be easy on yourself and start with an outdoor, distanced visit with a neighbor. Whatever you choose, set your own pace – keep wearing a mask and staying socially distant for as long as you need to feel safe.
3. Work with Experts
Not everyone is a doctor, therapist, or epidemiologist. Count on the people who are trained to help you. Not sure whether to get a vaccine? Ask your doctor and talk to people you trust who have gotten the vaccine about their experiences to help you prepare. Are you feeling anxious, stressed, or like you have PTSD? Seek the help you deserve so you can feel mentally and physically healthy, be it a walking group, therapist, support group or other organized group that matters to you. Now is the time to lean on the expertise in our communities more than ever and to be the people who lead the conversation with friends and family about how to move forward.
4. Know Before You Go (Anywhere)
Once you’ve thought about how you want to move forward and stay safe, arm yourself with knowledge about wherever you’re going. From state to state or sometimes even across county lines, COVID-19 vaccinations, cases, and regulations can vary. If you are visiting a loved one, have open conversations about your concerns – and theirs – regardless of local guidelines.
If you’re traveling, check the rules where you’re visiting as well as for coming home. Large theme parks or other venues may even have different rules than their surrounding cities, and your own state might have re-entry guidelines, too.
Even a trip to the store requires new information, especially if you’ve been avoiding those trips and are unsure of protocol. Check company websites or call ahead for mask policies. Don’t assume private businesses will ease their rules, even once government officials announce changes to public policy.
5. Choose Your Steps with Confidence
If you decide to get a COVID-19 vaccine, you may feel better at social functions in which others around you also have had the vaccine. Investigate how venues are handling vaccinations and how free people are to travel.
Lumedic Connect offers an easy way to carry and share your vaccine credentials with you on your smartphone (which, let’s be real, goes everywhere with you). Check here to find out when you’re eligible to use the Lumedic Connect app so you can be in control of your vaccine record securely wherever you decide to go.
No matter how quickly you decide to step into your normal, trust your instincts and the experts available to guide your decisions.
Disclaimer: This information is informational based on the current data available as of publication. Please consult with a medical expert for help making health decisions.