Mental health expert recommends gradual exposure over avoidance to combat post-pandemic anxiety

ROANOKE, Va. – As COVID-19 restrictions loosen, some are feeling anxious about jumping back to the “normal” way of life.

Nidhi Tewari, a mental health therapist, said it is typical to feel disoriented after changing habits you have maintained for more than a year.

She said it is best to start making small steps toward your pre-pandemic life instead of avoiding anxiety triggers altogether.

“Gradual exposure is actually really important because our anxiety is going to tell us that the more we avoid the anxiety triggers, the better that we feel. But unfortunately, that feeling of relief is temporary. What we actually want to do is slowly start to expose ourselves to the triggers that are making us anxious,” explained Tewari, who is also a licensed clinical social worker.

For example, you can start by eating outdoors at a restaurant and work your way to feeling comfortable inside.

About the Author

After working and going to school in Central Virginia for over five years, Lindsey’s made her way back home to the mountains.

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