If you’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19, you’re likely trying to reintegrate into the world. While we’re still very much in a pandemic, with Colorado’s eased mask mandates, the state has been opening its doors. If you’re like me, it feels odd to go somewhere without a mask after diligently masking for more than a year. Maybe you’re returning to the office a few days a week. Maybe the classes at your gym no longer require masks.

What does it feel like, re-entering society?

It almost feels like we’re breaking the rules by venturing forth, doesn’t it? You might think to yourself, “Is this okay? This feels so strange…” I had lunch with a girlfriend at a restaurant last week. We’ve both been vaccinated, and we still sat outside. Being able to give her a hug at the end of the encounter was so great, but also strange. Foreign. Are we allowed to hug our friends again if we’ve been vaccinated? (The answer to that is yes!)

It is ok to feel “strange”!

Whatever the case, many of us are in a strange transition period. We’re now on the opposite end of where we were more than a year ago. Remember how strange it was when everything shut down? How it was nearly impossible to find a mask or hand sanitizer? And let’s not get into the toilet paper thing.

Humans are adaptable creatures. We simply adjusted to wearing masks everywhere. We normalized seeing only half of people’s faces. I don’t recognize some newer faces that I met during the pandemic, because I only know them with a mask. Our brains are so adept at matrixing and recognizing patterns that masks are now just part of daily life. Now, we have to adjust again?

Re-adjusting Takes Time and is Not All Bad

Fear not. Your work-life balance may have altered, but maybe it was for the better. Let’s not glorify the long work hours at the office, tailed by long commutes to and from with traffic jams and car crashes. Many companies were able to offer remote work for their employees, and they’ve learned that employees can be more productive when working from home. Maybe the change in work environment was just what we all needed.

We’ve Come a Long Way! Don’t Forget the Lessons Learned

The pandemic has taught us the importance of caring for one’s mental and physical health. As we venture forth into this post-pandemic world, I hope we can remember what we learned. We truly are in it together. What we do affects our community and the people we love. To that end, I’d urge you to get vaccinated and join us in this weird transition phase, but a transition in which we can hopefully be happier and healthier.

If you need help learning to relax so that you are less anxious re-entering this new world. our physical therapists are here to help you! Still need a COVID-19 vaccination? Find a location near you here.

Written by: Laura M. Vroman, PT DPT