We’ve spent more than a year worrying about the pandemic and wondering when it would be over. When COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic, many thought it would last a few weeks or possibly a month. Had we known then that it was going to be a year, how would you have reacted?

Happily, we’re on the other side of the pandemic and heading towards normalcy. The vaccines have become more readily available and millions are being vaccinated. As of April 18, 28% of New Yorkers have completed their vaccine series and 41.4% have had one dose. Also, the Center for Disease Control is providing guidance on being safe while having more contact with people and loosening travel restrictions.

As of April 2, the CDC stated, “Fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel and do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.” That’s certainly a step in the right direction. Yet not everyone is going to be comfortable traveling with their families after they’re vaccinated. There is still much hesitation, fear, and uncertainty about safety.

Anxiety about the vaccineThe debate on getting the vaccine or not can be another source of anxiety. Sometimes people in the same household have different opinions on whether to get it or not. Chances are if COVID has impacted your life, you’re more likely to want the vaccine. However, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons and not pressure others to make the same decision. Read up on the vaccine from reliable sources like the CDC at www.cdc.gov.

Enter at your own paceWith positivity levels low, vaccinations on the rise, and warmer weather, it’s time to think about changing your habits and focusing on getting fresh air and being more active. However, this must be at your own pace. Kids have been separated from friends and family and now could be the time to ease them into more contact. However, you should be comfortable with the next steps you take. Your solution is not going to be the same as your neighbors or even your families’. You need to do what’s good for you.

COVID-impacted relationshipsDuring the height of the pandemic, parents and couples found themselves very stressed out. It seemed like everything around them was changing. Multi-tasking was simply a way to survive. Often all this focus on the pandemic and the kids, put even more strain on relationships. If you haven’t sought out therapy, now is the time to consider it. Here’s an opportunity to look at what worked and didn’t during this time, and what you need to do moving forward. If anything positive came out of the pandemic, it’s that people have been more open to therapy and have sought it out in record numbers.

COVID-19 used as an excuse?No doubt COVID-19 changed adults’ and children’s daily routines. Many adults worked from home while the kids were schooled from there too. Oftentimes when routines are interrupted, some of our good habits go by the wayside too. It’s no secret that many people put off exercise because gyms were closed or was that simply an excuse to avoid it? Our eating habits changed with many people gaining weight during this past year. It’s time to get back to healthy habits!

Find your new selfIt may be hard to find the positive side of this pandemic, but for many there certainly is. Maybe you spent more time with your family or found something interesting to do at home. Now could be an opportunity for you to not return to your pre-Covid self and that’s fine. This may be the opportunity to break out and do what makes you happy and healthy.

Amanda Felice, MS, LMHC, is the Director of Behavioral Health at Finger Lakes Community Health, an independent health care organization with eight health centers in the region.

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