Some people are terrified to go outdoors after over a year of staying at home. Dr. Arthur Bregman, a psychiatrist in Florida, found that some of his patients are locked inside their rooms and wearing a mask. In order to help his patients, he teaches them the MAV system, which stands for mindfulness, attitude, and vision.

The first step of the MAV system is to be aware of what exactly is bothering you, and once you know this, it is time for you to start developing a positive attitude by believing that good things can happen when you leave your house. Bregman suggested imagining the activities you participated in before the pandemic, such as sharing a meal or attending a concert with friends. For the last step, all you need to do is to visualize the goals that you can achieve once you leave your cave. According to Bregman, the sooner you practice this system, the better. He added, “The longer people are in their cave, the harder it is to get out.” Cave syndrome is not an official medical diagnosis. Based on Dr. Alan Teo, an associate professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, it is normal and expected of people to be uncomfortable going out in public. The experience people are feeling during the pandemic is anxiety and this does not mean that you have an illness. However, there are times when it becomes serious, so If you aren’t able to leave your house and continue with your daily life, Bregman recommends getting professional help. Comparing yourself to people who are socializing more than you can make you feel bad. Teo recommended comparing yourself to those who are socializing less than you. But he added that you should not feel pressured about what others are doing. There are some people who get tired after a long period of social interaction.

How people interact nowadays has changed. From talking about the weather, conversations may now be about vaccines. According to Teo, it is understandable to be out of practice at social skills as we have spent more time at home for over a year. At the end of the day, what is important is to stay safe and healthy.