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More Normalcy Brings Needed Mood Booster To Mental Health

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - Small venues are welcoming back crowds and from a mental health aspect, it couldn't come sooner. As life inches towards normalcy, many are taking a collective sigh of relief, but it can also bring some mixed emotions.

From laughing and dancing over vino in Clarksburg to belly-aching comedy shows in Sacramento, that "Friday feeling" is back.

"It feels good, and to be honest with you, good for your mental health. Being stuck in one environment for 12 months, it's nice to be out," said Clayton Grieger.

Wine lovers enjoying family time and girls' night out in Clarksburg at Heringer Estates Winery are raising a glass to more normalcy.

"A toddler and a baby cooped up in the house is not that fun. So, when you can be out and you can feel safe in an environment and still have a good time, support local, have the music, the wine, it's wonderful," said Connie Smith.

Michelle Corbo and her friends came to celebrate her engagement and the first time their group's been together in nearly a year.

"Since getting the vaccine, I feel like I have kind of let my guard down a little bit. Stress out in public is less, stress getting together with my kids is a lot less, so mentally, yeah, it's been amazing," Corbo explained.

Heringer Estates is back to hosting events including live local bands. They are seeing a constant spike in customers with reservations nearly at capacity each weekend.

"People are coming out, they want to do birthday parties, bachelor parties, and bachelorette parties, they want to come out and they want to do it outside in a safe environment," explained Heringer Estates Tasting Room Manager, Courtney Cucchi.

In midtown Sacramento, the Comedy Spot sold out their outdoor show featuring five comedians. People say they are glad to be back having fun with their friends.

"It feels great to get out and socialize and be a part of the human race again," said one attendee.

It's that optimism UC Davis Health Professor of Psychiatry, Dr. Angela Drake, believes is crucial for your mental health after a year of pandemic pressures.

"It gives us that little bit of boost that we need to get that sense of gratitude back," Drake explained.

Drake has seen many clients with a range of different emotions when it comes to reopening. Those emotions can range from excitement to being anxious depending on the person.

"You are going to have a range in reactions. There are people that are going to jump right in with both feet and be back at the club and dancing up a storm but a lot of folks will have trouble. It's going to be hard, it's going to uncomfortable at first, it might cause a little anxiety to be back in a crowd or in a movie theater and what I really want to encourage people to do, is to take it slow but be consistent," Drake said.

For those struggling to jump back in, Drake suggests trying different activities in small doses on a consistent basis.

"What we want to do is encourage the people that are ready and wanting to jump right back in and the people who are a little hesitant we are going to offer them support, encouragement, and kindness," she said.

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