Companies and counselors work to help those feeling anxious as they take part in ‘new normal’

Coronavirus

FARMINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — Businesses, restaurants, museums, and many other places are starting to open back up as more of the population gets vaccinated against COVID-19. But while getting back to normal seemed like what so many desired, some are finding anxiety with the thought of getting back out in public.

OneDigital has 50 employees in its Connecticut office. They relocated during the pandemic, and they consider their reopening as a reboot.

“We took the approach that this is an opportunity and an opportunity to come back better, stronger faster,” said Sara Tarca with OneDigital.

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The company has not made it mandatory that employees return. They are encouraging it, hoping for a return to their collaborative and creative culture. Leaders are sympathetic, knowing that employees have different comfort levels when it comes to returning to the office.

“Whether that be grief, anxiety, hope for the future because that’s probably one of the biggest things our teams are really trying to promote,” says Tarca.

The non-profit Mental Health Connecticut sees people anxious over returning to all kinds of activities, socializing, eating in restaurants, and even just being in public with others. Their message is to take reentry slow.

“Don’t overwhelm yourself, even if you’re excited about it, take it slow. There’s a lot of stimulation out there that we haven’t been accustomed to in a while, right?” said Remi Kyek with Mental Health Connecticut. Kyek holds degrees in psychology and marriage and family therapy.

She says if you feel symptoms of anxiety, like having a hard time catching your breath and concentrating, remember to breathe.

“If people can just take that moment to stop, and take that nice deep breath in through your nose, it relaxes and kind of triggers your parasympathetic nervous system.”

Kyek also stresses the need for self-care, advising clients to get out, even just to walk and get endorphins flowing. Another suggestion is to return to something you used to be good at, like knitting or trying new recipes. Activities that may provide joy in these changing times.

Throughout the month, News 8 is partnering with Mental Health Connecticut. If you need information or to be connected to services, call toll-free 1-800–842-1501, or visit www.mhconn.org to learn more or make a donation to help others.

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