Some things

​to think about



California has officially reopened! Those days we’ve been dreaming of, free breathing the air and carefree contact with friends and family, they’re finally here. We’re back to normal!

But why does it feel so…. weird?

Why does having your whole face exposed feel so awkward? Why does returning to normal have to come with this new sensation of “mask”xiety?

Remember back in the pre-Covid times when the most universally socially awkward thing we shared was what to do with our hands? Well, that’s back, and with it is this new worry: what do we do with our masks?

  • Wear it so people don’t think you’re some kind of selfish jerk?
  • Wear it because your kids haven’t been vaccinated yet and you want to keep them safe?
  • Keep it at the ready as a chin strap or an ear accessory until you read the room?
  • Ditch it and walk full-faced and proud into alllll the stores?

According to the CDC, “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

So, we have permission and the blessing of science to enjoy the liberation of vaccination. But we still have a responsibility to follow the rules of local businesses and our workplace. These are tricky and stressful social situations to navigate, and we are very out of practice since we’ve been hanging out at home for over a year.

Awkward Moments Are ‘The New Normal’

One of our staff members shared a story with us about riding an elevator that was so relatable. When the elevator doors opened, she noticed the gentleman riding the elevator had his mask on, which left her scrambling through her bag searching for her mask.

She’s fully vaccinated and following CDC guidelines yet was still in a panic as she tried to find her mask as a courtesy. Where’s the guidebook on re-entry, CDC? Did anyone get a copy of the Post-Pandemic Manners Manual?

Guess what? No manual. We’re all flying blind.

So, let’s find the funny. 

We’re all out of practice with interacting with strangers. Our personal space has grown at least 6 times bigger than it used to be. We’re all relearning how to put makeup on the lower half of our faces, how to manage facial hair that used to be under cover, and how to smile as a gesture. We’re all bumbling through handshake/fist bump blunders.

We are all feeling stressed and awkward with our newly returned freedom to exist in the world. We are all figuring this out, day by day, interaction by interaction. So let’s be patient with one another and find the funny in it.

We made it! This is what we wanted, what we worked for. Let’s get our high fives tuned up and get them out of retirement.


Let’s be kind.

People are going to respond differently to re-opening, and just as we didn’t know their personal situations during the pandemic, we still don’t know them now.

Maybe they have a parent getting chemo and still have to be extra cautious. Maybe they have kids at home who aren’t eligible for vaccination yet. Maybe they can’t get vaccinated because of an allergy or other health problem. Maybe they’re terrified of vaccination and haven’t worked through that.

Some people may not be ready to unmask, for a variety of reasons, and that’s okay. Wearing a mask is absolutely not going to hurt anyone.

So, be kind if your friend wants to wear a mask at group gatherings that are outside. Show compassion if your family members opt out of gatherings and events for a while. A little understanding will go a long way in this awkward recovery.


We’ve all had a tough year, physically and emotionally,” said Jordan Blaine, a psychiatric nurse practitioner with bonmente. “The CDC has given a green light to vaccinated people, but how fast we jump back into society is a personal choice. Do what feels right, safe, and good for you.

Let’s be real. And get help when we need it.

Anxiety and depression have exploded during the pandemic. Even though “getting back to normal” sounds amazing, it may be as psychologically debilitating as Covid-19. If re-entering society has your skin crawling, you could need some extra help from the pros at bonmente

“The past year was full of trauma, uncertainty, and fear,” said Kayleigh Soto, a therapist at bonmente. “We have spent the past year alone or in small groups and now we’re expected to co-exist with others and be excited about it. It’s easy to see how reopening could trigger anxiety, but with the right treatment, you can get to the joy of it.”

There is no right or wrong way to handle re-entry, but it’s essential to go at your own pace and view challenges as opportunities to build resilience. If you need a little help with that, give bonmente a call.


bonmente offers comprehensive treatments and guidance to manage anxiety, depression, and all other mental health issues. Schedule an appointment ​with our mental health providers today.


Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time. A little bit of worry is part of life. You might find yourself worrying about normal life stressors related to your career, finances, or relationships. These stressors can serve a useful purpose at times by motivating you to be productive or reach a specific goal.

But the problem starts when these worries consume you.


Most people can overcome these thoughts and move on. Unfortunately, for someone with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the worrying grows out of control. Your intrusive thoughts take hold and prevent you from living life. Most days, you feel worried about things even when you can’t exactly identify a single underlying cause.

When these persistent and pervasive thoughts linger and disrupt your daily life, it’s a sign that you might be experiencing something more than a little bit of worry.

​For someone suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it’s not about sudden feelings of panic and being overwhelmed,” said Dr. Mottsin Thomas of bonmente. “It’s more about the lingering feelings that make it hard to concentrate and function each day.” 

​Common Signs of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Everyone has different triggers that cause stress. Bouts of situational stress can arise from meeting deadlines at work to facing a significant life change like the death of a loved one. Your personal stress level will differ based on your personality and response.

If you feel increasing worry, intrusive thoughts, and lingering uncertainty, watch out for these common signs that anxiety might be taking over your life.

  • Upset stomach
  • Increased agitation or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Sleep problems

How To Break Free From Worry

Generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses in the nation. Nearly one-third of adults in the U.S. experience complex cases of consuming anxiety at some point in their life. Unfortunately, anxiety is often accompanied by depression, creating a vicious cycle of dangerous thought loops that fuel each other. With treatment at bonmente, though, you can take control of anxiety and unburden yourself of constant worry.

1. Take a timeout.

When anxiety grabs ahold of you, it can feel impossible to shove it off. But often that’s exactly what you need to do to get through the intensity. Put yourself in timeout and do something to slow your mind. Stretch your body out, listen to music, or try a meditation app to get some space between you and the source of your anxiety. You’ll likely find that when you come back to it, it doesn’t have as tight a grip as it initially did. 

2. Remember to breathe.

You can get your body to relax with something as simple and available as breathing. Yes, this thing you do without any thought is an amazing tool for managing anxiety. You can try alternate nostril breathing, where you breathe in and out of one nostril while holding the other closed. The 4-7-8 breathing technique is also effective. To do the 4-7-8 technique you’ll part your lips and make a “whoosh” sound as you exhale completely. Then you close your lips and inhale silently as you count to four in your head. Hold that breath for seven seconds. And finally, exhale with the “whoosh” for a count of eight. Do this for four breaths, holding your tongue against the roof of your mouth through the whole process, and you should feel more relaxed.

3. Turn fears into curiosity. 

Studying your anxiety is probably the last thing you want to do, but it can be helpful. Look at it like you’re a detective and try to identify what may be triggering anxiety for you. Maybe it’s work-related, perhaps it’s relationship-based? Discovering sources could allow you to better prepare and manage anxiety when the trigger is introduced. Journaling is great in helping to identify triggers, as it gives you a task to focus on when you feel out of control and ends up giving you a lot of data relating to your anxiety.

Everyone’s anxiety is different.

Since we all experience anxiety differently, it’s essential to create a treatment plan designed to work for YOU. With treatment at bonmente, you can take control of anxiety and unburden yourself of constant worry. Reach out to today for personalized support.