As someone who’s been inside my apt since March 10th except for one emergency trip to the dentist, I know this fear of going out is real and should be a concern. I have a doctor who’s telling me my circumstances justify staying in for the foreseeable future. But when and how can people like me conclude that it’s safe to go out — and is it really irrational to conclude that it’s not?
Many People Experiencing ‘FOGO,’ Or Fear Of Going Out, As More Places Reopen
June 26, 2020 at 1:34 pm
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – You may be familiar with “FOMO,” or the fear of missing out. But have you heard of “FOGO,” the fear of going out?
Recent studies show many Americans are worried about re-entering society after more than three months of isolation.
For the first time in months, New York City streets feel alive again. Many people are emerging from quarantine ready to take advantage of dining, shopping and other outdoor experiences.
But others, like Andrew Beguin, are a little more hesitant.
“I’m more worried about people being relaxed about the situation and not taking it seriously,” he told CBS2.
He’s not alone. Many people aren’t just scared of going out, they’re scared of going back to work.
In fact, two out of three Americans polled by the survey site Qualtrics say they feel uncomfortable returning to the office for a variety of reasons, like fear of getting sick, fear of exposing loved ones to the virus, or general anxiety about returning to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
“This anxiety can be a first-time thing for people. In fact, that’s what I’m finding more – is that somebody was emotionally health and are really being struck down by this level of anxiety that’s preventing them from getting back into the world, and they are still isolating,” said integrative psychologist Rosann Capanna-Hodge.
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She calls it “re-entry panic syndrome” and says it’s a little more extreme than your typical stress or anxiety.
“The first thing people need to do is they need to find a place or an activity that they feel comfortable attempting to re-enter the world, they need to start small and get out for brief amounts of time,” she recommended.
Something as simple as taking a 10-minute walk can help mitigate fear. After all, Capanna-Hodge says anxiety sparks from fear of the unknown.
If you are not seeing any improvement in your mood, if you are becoming irritable or spending more than an hour a day feeling sad, experts recommend seeking professional help.