How To Combat Social Awkwardness After Lockdown
After a year of working from home zoom meetings, homeschooling and quarantines, there is an uncertainty and cautious optimism as we move forward. As we all prepare to go back to a physical workspace, after almost a year of zoom meetings, homeschooling and isolation, we must be mindful as we step into our new normal.
Wingman app founder and CEO, Tina Wilson, shares her tips on how to navigate successful relationships.
1. Don’t rush in.
Don’t expect to snap back to normal. It’s going to take time to settle back into a new normal. This isn’t like coming back to work after a holiday to catch up on the office gossip. You and your colleagues will have experienced many lows during this time at home, with some going through the worst of times, so don’t assume everyone’s pandemic experience will match yours. Many people have lost friends and family so keep it appropriate. You will have several weeks and months to fully catch up on the past year so take your time and give others space.
2. It’s not about you.
Whilst its been a while since you’ve had human contact, you don’t need to offload and give a full rendition of your lockdown experience in a speech in a panic to get it all out. Everyone will have different levels of stress and upset and there could be many triggers that could affect others. So simple things like not touching other people’s things, wiping down communal areas, and appropriate social distancing will be key in keeping your environment workable.
3. Small kindness goes a long way
It’s been a while since you’ve been in the office so feel free to re-introduce yourself to those newer faces. One thing the pandemic has showed us is that we really value human contact, friendships and relationships, and that a kind word does go a long way so during these uncertain times ahead. As much as you may want to hide away behind a mask or desk, do make the effort to make eye contact and say hello to new people – if everyone did this, such a small token of human contact, it’s going to have a positive effect on everyone.
4. Mindfulness and self talk
Even the most confident of people are going to have anxious moments. After any trauma there is a fall out as we readjust to life, and so how you talk to yourself is going to be really important. There are many affirmational clips you can listen to or meditations in order to keep your mind calm. Affirmations are really helpful when you need to give yourself reassurance or a pep talk and it’s amazing that just using simple sayings such as ‘I can do this’ throughout the day, will have a boost in confidence.
5. New Normal
Do not underestimate the stress of re-engaging in behaviours that we used to take for-granted. Travelling into work, especially on public transport, meeting new people, handshakes, sharing communal areas will be a trigger for many, so do your part in keeping it calm.
6. Keep it moving
Improving your energy levels and feeling calm within yourself through yoga or a gym workout can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. Exercise will reduce stress and anxiety so just because you are back at work and doing the daily commute don’t put off physical and mental exercise.
What you should avoid doing:
- Do not make inappropriate jokes regarding the pandemic to cover up your awkwardness. There are going to be many triggers amongst your colleagues so be mindful that many will have experienced the worst.
- Do not try and guess someone’s name - if in doubt there is no harm in asking them again. We’ve all been away for such a long time, there is no shame in asking their name again or position.
- Don’t make your working life a social treat – this isn’t a night out with friends so be mindful that you need to get work done.
- Don’t call out any bad behaviours of your colleagues publically. For example if your colleague is continually late or struggling, do have a quiet word rather than make an office joke. There could be a multiple reasons as people try to get back into working life, none less than busy public transport which will cause a lot of stress.
Getting back to life as we once knew it will be an adjustment, but take your time and do what feels right for you.
Sign up now with your wingman by downloading the Wingman app in the App store and Google Play store. Available in the US and UK for IOS and Android devices.
To read more tips from Tina Wilson, visit her website TinaWilson.co