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UK psychologist talks about post pandemic anxiety

Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 2:08 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - June 11 is the date Governor Andy Beshear has set to lift the statewide mask mandate.

It’s a sign that we may be slowly coming back to normal.

The change may cause some people anxiety as they haven’t been around maskless crowds in more than a year.

Post pandemic anxiety of being around people again can be expected says UK psychologist Dr. Matt Southward.

“Absolutely normal to be anxious in these situations,” Dr. Southward said. “We were anxious at the start of the pandemic with what this all meant and, of course, we are going to anxious now when it’s hard to see what people’s status is.”

A recent study from the American Psychological Association found that 49 percent of adults surveyed feel uncomfortable about in-person interactions when the pandemic ends.

Dr. Southward says those who are feeling anxious can slowly ease back into social life.

“If we acknowledge that things are going to be kind of awkward at the start to then slowly push ourselves to say ‘what would I have done before the pandemic?’ Dr. Southward said.

It took more than a year to get where we are now, but Dr. Southward says it may take a couple of more months for some to feel comfortable being around people again.

“As we are getting back into summer, as businesses and concerts are opening up, they are offering us these opportunities that within five or six months we might start to see more returns to more normal behavior,” Dr. Southward said.

We all know everybody reacts differently to change, some fast, some slow. It may simply come down to observing other people’s changing habits.

“Seeing other people do it trying it out for ourselves will help facilitate that,” Dr. Southward

Dr. Southward says, from his perspective, the pandemic has not increased people seeking mental health appointments.

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