How To!

After a Year of Survival, How to Start Living Again

Feeling anxious about “back to normal”? This therapist and data scientist can help.


Episode Notes

For the past year, Brandon has been terrified of leaving his apartment. And so he’s settled into an extreme pandemic routine. He cooks all of his own meals, has yet to see his parents, and on the rare occasion he takes the trash out, still wears double masks, rubber gloves and safety goggles. Brandon has been fully vaccinated for weeks now but the very low risk of a breakthrough Covid case seems like a grave danger because a few years ago he suffered another incredibly rare viral infection. On this episode of How To!, we bring on economist Tim Harford, author of The Data Detective and host of the podcast Cautionary Tales, and clinical psychologist and Stanford professor Debra Kaysen to help Brandon work through his anxiety—from a statistical and an emotional perspective. Most of us feel varying levels of anxiety about getting back to “normal,” but Tim and Debra’s advice can help us reframe risk and find coping strategies to get back out there.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Survive a Shark Attack.”

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Send us a note at or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might have you on the show. Subscribe for free on Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.


About the Show

What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, Amanda Ripley (bestselling author of High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

Do you have a problem that needs solving? Have you found the advice on our podcast helpful? Send us a note at or leave us a voicemail at 646-495-4001 and we might play it on the air.

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