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Health tip: The Cave Syndrome
For months, contact restrictions, distance rules and home office solutions were almost commonplace regulations to Combating the Corona pandemic. With incidence levels decreasing and vaccination rates increasing, these rules are being relaxed under certain conditions. Nevertheless, many are struggling getting used to social interaction again.
Scientists therefore refer to the so-called "cave syndrome". It describes the fact that people prefer to stay in their protective cave rather than go out. One reason for this could be a fear associated with interaction. 

However, cave syndrome is not a disease, but rather a normal phenomenon that accompanies us due to delayed and distanced interactions as a consequence of the recent long-lasting, unique situation. The measures for pandemic containment have become second nature to us. The masks are ready in hand, the spacing rules are observed, and we shy away from shaking hands, while we joyfully elbow our counterparts in greeting. We have learned how viruses spread and how we can potentially become infected when we come into contact with other people.

It is no wonder that not everyone adjusts easily. There are those who, with the increasing relaxation of restrictions, want to catch up with others as much and often as possible. Still others have made themselves comfortable in their in their cave and venture only tentatively into social interactions. However, even those who want to be cautious do not have to forego social contacts.

Here are three tips on how to improve social interaction:

  • Dealing openly with concerns: If you feel uncomfortable in certain situations, it is important to express your concerns openly and not to be afraid of unpleasant reactions. Talking openly about your concerns with friends and colleagues is liberating and helps encourage social togetherness. 
  • Take your time: It's perfectly ok taking time getting used to dealing with others again after a long period of lack of interaction. If you feel insecure, meetings in a small group with lots of fresh air are a good alternative to large events. 
  • Take away others fear: Even if you yourself are not affected by Cave Syndrome - show understanding towards others. Meet the needs of those affected by responding to the situation, e.g. at work, and talk together about how to deal with each other. 
 
A healthy middle ground between appropriate caution and the relaxation of restrictions offers a beginning to the new normality. In this transitional phase, it is also possible that the fear can be forgotten and will gradually subside on its own.