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Navigating the Tides of Post-Pandemic Stress: Expert Advice on Managing Our New Normal

As the world emerges from the shadow of COVID-19, psychologists and researchers offer guidance on coping with the lasting effects of the pandemic.

Key Points

  1. Recognize diverse impacts of post-pandemic stress: The pandemic has led to various stressors, such as loss of loved ones, financial instability, and future uncertainty, contributing to chronic stress (Holt-Lunstad, 2020).

  2. Understand "COVID-19 stress syndrome": This unique form of stress, coined by Dr. Steven Taylor (2020), includes anxiety-related symptoms like health anxiety, fear of infection, and dread of societal collapse that can persist even after the pandemic.

  3. Acknowledge and validate emotions: Dr. James Gross (2021) emphasizes the importance of recognizing and experiencing emotions without judgment to effectively manage post-pandemic stress.

  4. Maintain social connections: Rebuilding and maintaining social networks are essential for emotional support and mental health as the pandemic subsides (Holt-Lunstad, 2020).

  5. Develop healthy coping mechanisms and seek professional help: Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz (2021) suggests adaptive coping strategies like exercise, mindfulness, and hobbies, while Dr. Sandra Llera (2021) recommends therapy or counseling for those struggling with unresolved stress, anxiety, or trauma.


The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on global society, with millions of lives lost, economies upended, and long-standing norms disrupted. As the world moves toward a new normal, many are struggling with the lingering stress, anxiety, and emotional upheaval caused by the pandemic. Leading psychologists and researchers offer insight into understanding and managing post-pandemic stress, providing valuable strategies for coping with this unprecedented shift in our lives.

Understanding Post-Pandemic Stress

The psychological effects of the pandemic are vast, impacting mental health in a myriad of ways. Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, highlights the importance of recognizing these diverse impacts. She notes that individuals may experience stress due to the loss of loved ones, financial instability, and the uncertainty of the future, all of which can contribute to a sense of chronic stress (Holt-Lunstad, 2020).

Dr. Steven Taylor, a professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia and author of "The Psychology of Pandemics," further explains that the pandemic has created a unique form of stress, which he terms "COVID-19 stress syndrome" (Taylor, 2020). This syndrome encompasses a range of anxiety-related symptoms, including health anxiety, fear of infection, and the dread of societal collapse, which can persist even as the pandemic recedes.

Strategies for Managing Post-Pandemic Stress

Acknowledge and Validate Emotions

Dr. James Gross, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and validating one's feelings in order to effectively manage post-pandemic stress (Gross, 2021). This process involves recognizing the validity of one's emotions and allowing oneself to experience them without judgment or self-criticism.

Maintain Social Connections

Holt-Lunstad (2020) stresses the importance of social connections in mitigating the effects of stress. As the pandemic subsides, rebuilding and maintaining social networks is essential for emotional support and mental health. This can be achieved through a combination of in-person interactions and digital communication, as appropriate.

Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Dr. Jonathan Abramowitz, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, suggests developing adaptive coping mechanisms to manage stress (Abramowitz, 2021). These may include regular exercise, mindfulness meditation, or engaging in hobbies and activities that bring joy and relaxation.

Seek Professional Help

For individuals struggling to manage post-pandemic stress on their own, professional help may be necessary. Dr. Sandra Llera, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor at Towson University, encourages seeking therapy or counseling to address unresolved stress, anxiety, or trauma resulting from the pandemic (Llera, 2021).


As we navigate the uncharted waters of a post-pandemic world, it is crucial to remain aware of the lasting psychological impacts of this global crisis. By acknowledging our emotions, maintaining social connections, developing healthy coping mechanisms, and seeking professional help when necessary, we can foster resilience and adapt to our new normal.



Are you having challenges recovering from the emotional effects of the pandemic?

Explore your wellness with the Post-Pandemic Recovery Workbook. This workbook is designed by professionals utilizing the best of the clinical literature on self-improvement to assist you in achieving your wellness goals.


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