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Feeling anxious about loosened restrictions? You're not alone.

There's excitement over moving forward, but it's causing some to take a step back.

NEW ORLEANS — NEW ORLEANS - People are celebrating after the latest ease of restrictions. However, some are finding the latest step forward, is causing them to actually take a step back.

With restrictions loosening, life is slowly looking more like it used to. However, that sense of normalcy is causing anxiety. 

"Will the community have post-traumatic stress from this? Absolutely we will," said Dr. Jay Kaplan, the Medical Director of Care Transformation at LCMC Health. "It doesn't take someone pointing a gun at you, it takes being affected deeply and profoundly and emotionally and we've all been deeply and profoundly affected emotionally by this pandemic." 

Dr. Kaplan said the past year has been a struggle for everyone.

"I don't think we recognize this enough that the COVID pandemic has really brought our own mortality right in front of our faces," he said.

As restrictions lift, some may find they're not as ready as they think they are to do what they did pre-COVID. That includes being with friends, going to crawfish boils, eating inside a full restaurant or even going back to the office.

"I think our previous reality was altered by this pandemic," said Dr. Kaplan.

"It may be anxiety-provoking to start going out if you haven't been doing that," said Dr. Michelle Moore, a Clinical Psychologist at LSU Health.

Dr. Moore says the feeling is normal. She suggests taking it slow with small tasks instead of jumping right in. And if you're feeling hesitation, it's okay.

"If you're with other people you feel comfortable with," she said. "Talk to them about it, let them know how you're feeling have someone else provide you with support to help you calm down."

The past year has been filled with stress, uncertainty and fear. And while some feel that way looking ahead, the experts say you're not alone and with time and patience, the anxiety will ease.

"I don't like to say we'll go back to where we were, we'll go forward to the new normal," said Dr. Kaplan.

Dr. Moore said it's important people be mindful of others, that just because you're feeling okay, doesn't mean others are. And if you see someone struggling, let them know you're there to help.

Dr. Kaplan also said one thing that will help bring comfort to someone's uneasiness, is getting vaccinated.

"The best thing anyone can do in regards to opening up again is get vaccinated," he said. "Just today, the head of the CDC said if you've been vaccinated you cannot transmit the virus. So all the more reason to get yourself vaccinated."

RELATED: Vaccination providers are making it easier to get the shot by now accepting walk-ins at some locations

RELATED: New Orleans allows for larger gatherings, but won't open up with the rest of Louisiana

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