By Hank Tester

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Feeling a little nervous, maybe anxious about going out as COVID restrictions are being eased out? You are not alone. As CBS4’s Hank Tester reports, it’s not uncommon for those who have been cooped up for a year to suffer from reentry anxiety.

“There are a lot of people that are experience that kind of anxiety, not knowing or second guessing themselves,” said Dr. Zulma Berrios, the chief medical officer at Baptist Health West Kendall Baptist Hospital.

READ MORE: U.S. Special Envoy To Haiti Daniel Foote Resigned Over Deportations At Southern Border

It’s natural to be concerned about getting out and about after a year of social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and not getting far at all from home.

“It is like testing the waters and everybody is going to feel different, their comfort level according to prior experience,” said Dr. Berrios.

Just being in a small crowd might trigger anxiety.

“We’ve really been out of practice when it comes to socializing and being around lots of people,” said John Guardian with Philadelphia Integrated Psychology.

Medical professional say if you are uneasy about “getting out there,” you should go slow. For example, drive before you fly.

READ MORE: Netflix To Release 'Tiger King 2'

“Do that progressive exposure and return to the things you enjoyed before,” said Dr. Berrios. “Probably that is going to help you mitigate that sense of uncertainty.”

Baby steps are important.

“Take it slow. Everything in increments is the best way to go. You know there is a phrase that we use in the field called systematic desensitization, and initially that means taking baby steps,” said Guardian.

For starters, plan ahead go to a familiar restaurant, maybe a park, the beach. And some additional advice:

  • Accept anxiety feelings
  • Focus on what’s in your control
  • Stick with close family and friends
  • Determine who is vaccinated

“It’s a matter of having the conversation ahead of time and deciding what are the things that will make that experience safer,” said Dr. Berrios.

Experts also recommend accepting that you will feel anxious. Just acknowledging that it’s expected and normal can bring comfort.

MORE NEWS: Man Riding Scooter Dies Following Crash With UPS Truck In Miami Beach

If it is a serious problem, contact your health provider.