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Ways to help ease anxiety as you transition back to normal life

More people are struggling with anxiety as the pressure to get back to work in-person and resume activities increases.

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Therapists are seeing an increase in the number of patients struggling with anxiety as the pressure to get back to pre-pandemic life increases. 

Soltana Nosrati, MSW, LCSW, a psychotherapist with Novant Health, has some ways for people to help their anxiety and make the transition to "normal" life easier. Nosrati says the first thing you have to do is get used to the feeling of being uncomfortable.

For most people, when you do something new, it provokes a level of anxiety, and right now our new normal is getting back to what used to be "normal."

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“Initially, staying at home was difficult but then you get used to it," Nosrati said. "So your brain develops what we call habituation, and when you want to now change that behavior, i.e. now go outside, you’re going to feel a little anxious because your brain is like wait a minute we haven’t been doing this for a while.”

There is hope. Although repetitive behavior is hard to break, and becomes comfortable, it can be undone. It just takes a little commitment, time and consistency. Take it step by step. Set little goals because you are far more likely to achieve them. 

RELATED: Study finds 1 in 3 COVID-19 survivors have neurological or mental health disorders

"Maybe talk to your job about not going from working from home full-time to, all of a sudden, now you're working outside full-time," Nosrati said, acknowledging not every company is going to be OK with that. "So what I would do is take a few breaths, drive nice and slow and treat yourself to something nice when you come in." 

Nosrati said her favorite would be a yummy creamer with her morning coffee. And remember, it's going to be more difficult when you have to do it all at once, but it's doable. Just be prepared to be uncomfortable. 

RELATED: Life after COVID: How the virus left two formerly active women barely able to leave the couch even months later

WCNC Charlotte's Rachel Lundberg asked on her Twitter poll if you are someone struggling with anxiety right now as our world shifts back? 

About one-third of voters throughout the morning have said yes. Click HERE to cast your vote.

Rachel Lundberg: Contact Rachel Lundberg at rlundberg@wcnc.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.