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COVID Culture Shock

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

COVID restrictions are lifting. It feels so good to get out again. You can’t wait to visit face to face with friends. Hug someone so close and feel like you’re never gonna let them go. You can’t wait to eat in a restaurant. Go to the movie theatre. Take off that damn mask. Breath again.

It feels so liberating. It feels so free.

So, why do you feel so darn anxious?

This should be exciting.

It feels like you’ve been waiting for a lifetime. Well, 2 years. Ok, ok, one and a half years. Well, 1 year and 4 months. But it feels like a lifetime.

So why are you feeling anxious? Where is the worry coming from?

Culture Shock!!

Yup, you heard it. Culture Shock!

If you’ve been cooped up at home. Working from home. Staying home. Following the rules. Stuck in the house with the family or worse, alone.

Going out again can feel like a Culture Shock.

For the past year and a bit, all you’ve seen are the same darn walls of your house, day in and day out. Other than the occasional trip to the grocery store and maybe a socially distanced visit with a friend in the backyard, or a colleague on Zoom. It feels like you haven’t seen the light of day in a loooooooooonnnnnnng time! Groundhog day over and over and over again.

It can be a real challenge for you to readjust AGAIN!

Another, new normal. How many normals can there be?

You just got used to ordering EVERYTHING online, Skip the Dishes, groceries, Amazon. You finally adjusted to Zoom, you’re sick of Facebook, and you’ve watched everything there is on Netflix.

This just feels so exhausting to shift gears, AGAIN and reintegrate into society.

Maybe you were comfortable. Enjoying the quiet and downtime. You embraced not having to socialize in large crowds and make small talk. Ughh!

Although you’re excited for things to open up again, it can feel overwhelming to readjust. You were in the zone, whether you found it comforting or confining. You had a routine.

Getting back out there can feel mentally, emotionally, and even physically exhausting. The anticipation brings so much worry. And, being around other people’s energy might drain you.

Just like the war Vet who is fighting in the trenches one day. Gunfire overhead. Feet soaked. Body tired. And the next day they’re sitting in their tidy living room, on their brand-new sofa, watching daytime soaps about whether Bo will propose or not.

This is Culture Shock.

Culture Shock is when you feel disoriented, all out of sorts because of a sudden new way of life. Unfamiliar expectations, a change in how things are done, new attitudes, customs, and so much change.

It’s ok to go out one day, it's not ok the next, oh look we’re allowed to hang out again.

Whether Bonnie Henry, Ford, Dr. Tam, Justin Trudeau, Biden, or Jacinda Ardern are telling you to go out, stay home, socially distance, wear a mask, disinfect, sanitize often, stay 6 feet apart or something else. You will have to decide, as things open up again, where your comfort level is.

Although the “authorities” have told you its ok to go outside and meet up with your friends again. You can decide what that actually looks like. 4 Ways to Beat COVID Culture Shock:

  1. You get to decide if being in a group of 20, 50 or more feels comfortable for you. Guess what, this has always been your right to decide if you like being in crowds or not. You probably already knew this, but I’m just reminding you, that just because its “OK” now, doesn’t mean you have to go from your small family of 2 ~ you and Hammy the Hamster ~ to a rockin’ party of 50 people dancing on tables in the bar.

  2. Take breaks. If you’re out with friends and you feel your heart pounding, chest squeezing and palms sweating ~ take a break. Go outside. Get away from the crowd and take a breather. It can feel like a lot to go from Google Hangout to face-to-face hangout. Excuse yourself and take a walk around the block or just sit away from the crowd for a bit.

  3. This leads to the importance of taking space. If you're used to being 6 feet away from everyone, all of the time. You might feel a bit claustrophobic having so many people sitting around you, all talking at once. It’s ok to take space and maintain your own personal bubble. You’ve always had a bubble. Everyone does. It's just, some people prefer a wider bubble with more space around them ~ put your coat on that empty chair beside you. And, some people are comfortable with a smaller bubble ~ leaning in to talk closely to you. You get to decide for you.

  4. Ease in slowly. If you’ve been doing EVERYTHING from home, you might prefer to go out in bits and spurts. It might not be the best idea to travel with your 6 besties, all staying in one hotel room. Instead, you might try an afternoon at the beach. An evening with a friend or two. Lunch in a quiet restaurant off the beaten path. Slowly shifting back into old patterns can feel more safe, comfortable and in control when you set the speed.

Tell me. How will you ensure your comfort, while you adjust to the new changes with everything opening up again?

Drop me a note and let me know your favourite strategies.

If COVID Culture Shock has got you feeling disoriented, give me a call or send an email and we can book a counselling session to support you through this transition time. Phone, zoom and in-person sessions are available.

Have fun and stay safe.

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