Cave Syndrome: The hard way back to post-COVID everyday life

The past two years have severely restricted the social life of many people. Wearing a mask, keeping your distance and reducing social contacts were the be-all and end-all during the pandemic. Some people have got used to the contact restrictions too well: they are still sitting in their Corona cave.

Although caution is still required, the easing allows more freedom again: sports training, joint visits to the restaurant or more time in the office are possible again – but this situation overwhelms some of the population.

Cave Syndrome – a transient adaptive response

This reaction can also be referred to as Cave’s syndrome. “Cave” comes from English and means cave. Many people prefer to stay at home because the increased social contacts are an unfamiliar situation. Cave syndrome is a common phenomenon.

In order not to endanger other people and not to spread the  corona virus  further, a general caution has crept in in society. The trained  fear  of the virus is a natural protection that some people find difficult to take off, while others find it easier.

Although the crisis is not over yet, social contacts should not be completely reduced. Instead, any social awkwardness that may have arisen should be trained out again. This is how people find a way out of the Corona cave:

  • Talking about insecurities:  Open communication with friends and family can avoid misunderstandings: The reason for the social isolation is not a lack of interest in the circle of friends, but rather the insecurity caused by the  pandemic .
  • Don’t put yourself under pressure:  Everyone goes in and out of the pandemic at their own pace. Anyone who puts themselves under pressure finds spending time with friends and family uncomfortable, loses fun and avoids the situation next time.
  • Small steps:  In order not to be immediately overwhelmed by the situation, short walks with friends and relatives or meetings in private are recommended at the beginning. In this way, the distance to the other person and the duration of the visits can be better controlled.
  • Practice makes perfect:  Small successes show that working together is possible even during the pandemic and that a healthy middle ground can certainly take place. However, one should not rest on one’s laurels, but continue to cultivate and slowly expand social contacts.

Anyone who is permanently overwhelmed and burdened by social contacts should seek professional help and talk to a therapist about their fears and problems.

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