Thanks to the COVID-19 vaccinations and regulations, America has been able to re-open. While it’s not the same yet as it was before the pandemic, more people can enjoy activities they once did before the outbreak, like eating out at restaurants, attending sporting events and visiting precious loved ones.
Even though much of America is reopened, the now known Delta variant is on the rise. Many, whom of which may include you, are still understandably concerned about COVID-19 precautions. Others may be racing to get back to normal, but it’s okay to set boundaries and still take caution when out in public or when you’re visiting with others.
COVID-19 lockdowns have certainly increased social anxiety, which is a mental health condition where people feel an intense fear that others are watching and judging them. For example, some may feel judged for wearing a mask outside even though they’re vaccinated. People have become hyper-aware of how they act in public because of COVID and tend to stay away from others, which further feeds that anxiety.
The situation regarding the pandemic is uncomfortable for everyone. It has been one of the most stressful years to date. There’s still uncertainty about what may happen in the upcoming months. However, you can be clear about your boundaries with others.
Here’s how to set comfortable, healthy boundaries in a reopened America.
1. Start By Defining Your Personal Boundaries
You have to know your personal boundaries before you can tell others about them. Take time to think about how you want to live in a reopened country. You might decide to only meet up with others outside. You might choose to continue wearing a mask even if you are vaccinated.
Be consistent with your boundaries when you set them. You can certainly learn all of the facts about the virus and listen to what others tell you, but if that makes you uncomfortable, just follow your feelings and do what is safest for you.
2. Know That It’s Okay To Say No
Since the country has reopened, many have started to participate in or host social gatherings. There are barbeques, festivals and concerts galore. You’ll likely be invited to some of these events.
If you feel unsafe attending, it’s okay to say no. State your boundaries to the invitee and don’t give in to the pressure. You have the right to say no.
3. Communicate With Clearness And Compassion
When you have conversations with others about your health boundaries, state them with clarity and be compassionate. Empathize with the other person’s decisions regarding the pandemic and their health. You may disagree, but you must remain respectful, and they’ll likely reciprocate that respectfulness.
Additionally, be clear about your boundaries. State yours from the start, and ask others about their boundaries as well. These small acts of empathy can go a long way. Thank others who may be visiting with you for wearing their masks or frequently sanitizing their hands.
4. Use Science And Expert Guidance
If you’re still unsure of your boundaries, it’s best to follow reputable sources of information. Not all media and other opinions will provide you with accurate and up-to-date information about the virus. Ensure you take occasional breaks from the news, as watching stories and hearing new information constantly can quickly become emotionally overwhelming.
Follow websites like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for information. Additionally, limit how often you check the news. Watch it in the morning and the evening to stay updated. Also, follow your local news station as well for updates within your region.
5. Start Small
Reentering a world where the pandemic is still very real can be challenging. If you’re ready to start meeting up with others and want to stretch your boundaries healthily, start small. You don’t need to reenter by attending a massive party with thousands of people.
Instead, evaluate and adjust your boundaries and comfort with each encounter you have with others or with each trip you take to the grocery store. Start by meeting up with a friend in a small outdoor cafe for a cup of coffee. Then maybe you can have a trusted friend or family member come to your home for half an hour. Evaluate how you feel after each encounter. If you don’t feel completely comfortable, take a step back to your original boundaries.
Taking Caution As The Globe Slowly Opens
It can be challenging to have different boundaries and opinions when it comes to reopening America. Remember in this time to do what feels best for you. Set your limits and hold fast to them. Be a source of encouragement for others to set their own boundaries and stay as healthy as possible.