I’m Not Ready {Anxiously Living in a Pandemic World}


After a year of isolation, I do not feel fully comfortable being out there. Out with… people. I can trust the science and still feel anxious. Here are some ways I am taking control to help myself to go out.



Whenever possible, I use the self-checkout. There is little to no human interaction and I control the speed of the process. Some stores have self-checkouts for smaller or larger item limits. I’m thankful many grocery chains have self-checkout available.

Close up of bag carousel and self check out scanner
Self-checkout for low/no contact

Backward Cart

When I am made to check out in a lane, I have control of how far I am from the person in front of me, but less so behind me. As someone who enjoyed those six feet of space, I can hold my shopping cart behind me in line, guaranteeing at least a cart length of space behind me.

Holding a shopping cart backwards
A shopping cart can create distancing

Off-Peak Hours

As someone who enjoys takeout (read – not cooking), I want fewer people to interact with in-store. Choosing times early or late, say mid-afternoon for a late lunch or early dinner, the trip inside goes quicker and there are fewer people around in general. This practice has helped me feel okay continuing to pick up food while capacity limits are expanding.

Empty tables an chairs in a restaurant
Takeout during off-peak hours

Curbside and Shipping

With places offering no-contact pickup or sometimes even free shipping, I can order shelf-stable items with ease and no extra time in store. Minimizing my time in the physical building helps each trip feel more manageable.

These strategies curb my hesitation and remind me I have options. There is not a time frame for being okay. It is a process and these steps are helping me get there. I hope it helps you, too.


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