Be Gradual: SSM Health Therapist talks about anxiety towards returning to normalcy

MADISON, Wis. — Last week we talked to SSM Health Therapist Britt Coolman about creating things to look forward to in this season of things being different, but on the other hand we’ve been in this way of life for so long, a return to normalcy could actually create anxiety for some kids.

It’s a catch 22 scenario as there’s also the loneliness issue to tackle, but when it comes to the angst of going back to normal, Coolman says that’s expected because it’s hard to define what normal is right now.

“Kids and teens are struggling with increased anxiety around these things because they’re no longer normal,” said Coolman. “They’re no longer things that they’re doing on a day to day basis. It’s been almost a year that we have not been going out and about, not been in person in school for a lot of kids, or sometimes haven’t done a lot of activities because those haven’t been available. So that is something that is kind of expected to happen, to have some increased anxiety going back to some of these normal activities because it feels unknown.”

So how do we tackle that? Coolman says it’s best to be gradual when introducing kids to their former activities, giving them time for the adjustment. She also says it’s something a lot of kids, and adults alike, will feel in the season of transitioning back.

She’s also stressing to be mindful of loneliness your kids and teens may be facing, and encourages allowing your kids and teens to connect with a friend, but safely.

Our time for kids: recipe for health team is asking what you want to hear about. Let us know what health topics you’re interested in, or share your family’s health story with us, online at ssmhealth.com/timeforkids.