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.

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