The stress from states reopening requires new coping skills, says therapist

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As public health officials gradually lift some of the restrictions keeping people hunkered down at their homes, that could mean a boost to the economy – and your worries.

Some may have concerns about returning to work,or going out to more places than just the grocery store, or maybe, just being stuck in traffic again.

Dawn Delgado, an EMDR Certified Therapist at Inspire Evolve Counseling, says some people have leaned on vices to get through the days of sheltering at home. People are stress baking, and alcohol use is up among many, she says.

“It is kind of a state where people have been doing what they need to to cope,” Delgado says. “As our minds start to go towards coming back online, there’s a lot of anxiety in the air for many people. There’s a new type of coping that’s going to be required.”

That new type of coping will need to address how to reemerge into the world. Weeks of staying home have provided a degree of safety, but as more businesses reopen and offices slowly see employees trickling in, some will face a higher risk of contracting the virus.

“With COVID — and as things start to open up — this threat is invisible,” says Delgado. “This is something we can’t see; this is not someone in a dark alley coming towards us. Since our nervous system is wired to seek out threats, this is an invisible threat, and that can only amplify anxiety for people.”

Therapist Dawn Delgado recommends acknowledging when you feel afraid in these unprecedented times. By recognizing it, she says you’re more empowered and can more easily work through it. Photo credit: Jenni Scharf

According to Delgado, being in-tune with our bodies and remaining mindful of our thoughts can help ease the stress as we begin adapting to the new reality of living with the coronavirus.

“If we’re reacting from a place of over-stimulation and overly anxious, then we’re not taking a pause – we’re not checking in with what feels right to us,” Delgado says. “Doing mindfulness practices that keep us calm, even if those weren’t a part of your daily practice prior to covid, now’s a great time to integrate some meditative practices.”

As we deal with the health crisis in real time, Delgado doesn’t shy away from the fact that sometimes the emotion people are feeling is simply fear. However, she says once we name it and realize it, we can breathe through it and temper our reactions.

On the other side of the crisis, Delgado says she’s confident the public will be more resilient and could harness post-traumatic growth to actually be stronger than before the pandemic.



  • Dawn Delgado - Licensed marriage and family therapist, Dawn Delgado Therapy