As the coronavirus outbreak continues, many are wondering if and when they’ll be able to open up their quarantine circles to others.
These circles — essentially groups of people who have self-isolated together to avoid becoming infected or infecting others — have become the new normal for most of the United States, and as restrictions begin to loosen in some states, people are looking to ease back into socializing with those outside their own home.
Jen Hartstein, a psychologist and Yahoo Life Mental Health Contributor, shared her thoughts on the types of things to consider when making your decision.
“There are a lot of downsides to opening up our circles too soon,” warns Hartstein. “The mental health risk is that it might amplify our anxiety, and then, the second you have a sniffle, you automatically think you have coronavirus, or you start to really worry that you’re infecting other people so you have to really be grounded and centered and feel like this is a solid decision.”
Despite the risks, there may also be benefits to opening up your circle.