Social readjustment after isolating times

A recent New York Times article has reminded me that humans have been in isolated situations before and have lessons to share with us now.

Experiences from astronauts, explorers and prisoners all share the same thing –coming back into contact with people isn’t smooth sailing. The body and brain can respond in weird and unsettling ways. And while no one is immune from it, you can prepare for it and manage it.

Experts call this experience ‘social awkwardness’.

It can come with feeling anxious, unsettled or grumpy. Misreading or misunderstanding the actions and comments of others. Or even wanting to return to the iso bubble.

Thankfully the experts tell us we can navigate this well.

Firstly, keep up contact with others. It keeps our social skills primed and that helps when we return to engaging with others in person.

Another fundamental is acknowledgement and attention. As we prepare for, and return to work, recognise these experiences do happen and watch for it. Be understanding and supportive. That applies to you as much as your colleagues.

Remember, we know how to be together and right now, many of us miss it. So we just may need to help each other recalibrate our body’s reactions to readjust.

And what if we design opportunities that help people spend time together safely and creatively. That’s the value of good collaboration.

Find more on isolation and social awkwardness in this recent New York Times article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/sunday-review/coronavirus-socially-awkward.html