There is relief as WA restrictions lift, but not everyone is feeling ready to get back into the swing of things.

Kate was excited to have a few people over and planned a backyard catch up. When everyone arrived she was happy to see them, and then, an increasing sense of anxiety. Kate said she found it hard to keep up with conversations, and felt self-conscious about everything she said. In the end, she couldn’t wait for them all to leave. When Steven caught up with his friends, he was overly focused on analysing their reactions and facial expressions.

It took time to adjust to staying at home, not seeing family and friends in the ways that we knew. Now, the return to socialising can feel unfamiliar and disorienting.

As Triple J’s Hack describe in this article, psychologists call this reverse culture shock, or re-entry syndrome.

Dr Alexander Kumar, British medical doctor, swung between anxiety and feeling underwhelmed after returning from his long trip in Antarctica. “Living in Antarctica is hard; coming home can be harder” he says in his blog. Dr Kumar emphasises that these sorts of adjustments can take time. “It took months before I felt normal, and longer for my urges to return to the ice to subside”.

The Conversation shares further information about anxieties about reconnecting with the outside world.

If you’re feeling uneasy about socialising, you aren’t alone in your experience. Acknowledge what you are feeling. Try writing down what scenarios you would be comfortable with. Talk to your loved ones and express your need for patience. Start with what feels manageable, and build up from there.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Image credit: Photo by 66 north on Unsplash