Do you feel anxious about returning to business as usual as the pandemic cools down? Even though you’re vaccinated and taking all the precautions to stay safe and healthy? You might be experiencing cave syndrome, a phenomenon that’s making some people hesitant to return to their pre-pandemic lives.
As a quick refresher, while it isn’t an official psychological diagnosis, cave syndrome is generally characterized by feeling anxious about returning to society after the COVID-19 pandemic, even if you’re fully vaccinated. Its causes vary from person to person, with some folks hesitant to return to their normal lives out of an ongoing fear of the disease and others having grown accustomed to—and even fond of—the solitude of the last 15 months.
And it totally makes sense. The past 15 months have been traumatic. In fact, in May 2020, researchers at the University of British Columbia published a study predicting that an estimated 10 percent of people in the midst of the pandemic will develop COVID stress syndrome after coping with severe psychological problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or mood or anxiety disorders.
But luckily, cave syndrome doesn’t have to hold you back forever. In fact, there are three words to keep in mind if you’re anxious about returning to pre-pandemic life, according to psychiatrist Dr. Arthur Bregman, who coined the term ‘cave syndrome.’ In an interview with CNN, he calls it his MAV system, which stands for “mindfulness, attitude and vision.” Here’s how it works: