Many of us have spent more time than ever in our homes since the start of the pandemic. As the world reopens, some of us are wishing we could stay home. The phenomenon going from hating being stuck at home to preferring it is called Cave Syndrome, and our always upbeat mindfulness meditation teacher and resilience coach, Suzanne Jewell, is sharing tips on how to be kind to yourself as you “re-enter” the world as we know it now.
Jewell recommends going back in bits. Try taking trips to the grocery store more often, then maybe a family gathering or a trip to the movies. Recognize your anxiety if there is any, but also recognize when you're enjoying yourself and having a good time.
"We're all feeling awkward," she says. "Just pause, breathe for a minute, and smile."
Realizing you enjoy spending time with yourself isn't a bad thing. You can still make time to be on your own, revert to some quiet time, and just relax. Rather than swinging from isolation back to being around people 24/7, she suggests finding a middle ground where you can spend time with others, and still make time for yourself.
Being mindful and present can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety while reentering a world that's still changing so much. Jewell says allowing yourself to recognize changes and go along with them can ease the pressure of needing to adapt to the new environment.
"Check in with your anxiety. If you have some nervousness, ask yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, where is it right now," she says. "And then as you go back the next time, maybe it's not as tense. More likely than not, it won't be as difficult the next time."