Stevie Martin, Ahir Shah, Darren Harriott, Seann Walsh and Ania Magliano Launch Post-Lockdown 'Guide to Normality'

Seann Walsh Opens Up About His Ups And Downs In New Podcast

TV Channel Dave and comedians including Seann Walsh, Stevie Martin and Darren Harriott have teamed up with CALM to launch a self-help 'Guide to Normality' as lockdown eases.

This follows a new study that reveals that over four in five (81%) British adults are feeling socially apprehensive as lockdown ends.

The nation’s social worry is set to peak this week and next, as we can start seeing people inside, stay over at friends and families’ houses, go to restaurants and pubs properly and meet up in large groups outside.

The research, commissioned by UKTV’s leading comedy entertainment channel Dave, reveals that many of us are exhibiting symptoms of ‘post lockdown anxiety’ as we become increasingly apprehensive about re-entering real life social situations following a year spent confined and communicating via phones and screens.

Over three-quarters (76%) of Brits admit to being nervous about interacting with people in real life once lockdown ends. Our nerves are further accentuated by the prospect of attending larger social and sporting events, with all restrictions being fully eased in just over a month’s time.

The study pinpoints the ten social situations that are giving rise to the most anxiety and has led a series of self-help style videos from some of Dave’s comedy friends to help people reintegrate into society which leverage humour to get the message across.

Top social situations Brits are dreading include Greeting etiquette (wave? shake hands? elbow bump?) and going to a party of more than six people.

Sheer uncertainty as to how to greet people in person topped the list following a year of family zooms and work teams calls, closely followed by partying with more than six people and how we interact with staff and fellow diners when enjoying a meal out.  Tellingly, almost two-thirds (65%) of us admit that we are going to miss having the ‘mute’ button in real life situations.

The study also shows at least half (51%) of us plan on adding some embellishments to our stories when asked ‘so what have you been up to?’ to try and make our past year seem more interesting.

We’re also set to struggle to know what to talk about, with well over four-in-ten (42%) of us not knowing what to say each other when meeting in-person. Shockingly, almost half of us (47%) won’t know what to say to extended family after over a year of not seeing them properly.

In true British fashion, three-quarters (76%) of us admit that we will revert to talking about the weather if we’re unsure what to say when we’re back out in social situations.

In response, Dave has teamed up with suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and a host of comedians to create five witty video tutorials giving top tips for how to successfully navigate these social interactions without trepidation.

The videos, which feature Darren Harriott, Stevie Martin, Ania Magliano, Ahir Shah and Seann Walsh deal with everything from work meetings in person; to remembering how to dance in public; to tips on how to quietly leave a social situation without being noticed.

The short films form part of Dave and CALM’s reintegration guide for people that are worried about having to interact with other humans after a year of screen time. The guide also includes a unique set of conversational cue cards, which give tips on conversation starters in real life, and are deigned to help break the ice as we emerge from lockdown.

Top Tips from the videos include: Pub etiquette, how to adapt back to the commute and how to talk to strangers

The research also revealed the things we really enjoyed about lockdown, further emphasising how we may struggle with life returning to normality.

We’ve loved being able to wear what we want at home, with no worries about dressing up for social occasions. Additionally, Brits have savoured the slower pace of everyday life at home, along with being able to save money and spending time alone as a family unit.

In fact two-thirds (67%) of Brits have found themselves at times grateful for not having to see friends or family.

The conversational cue cards will also cover the best things about lockdown, to help people find common ground after a year of video chat and time spent with just immediate family.

Steve North, UKTV’s genre general manager said, ‘Coming out of lockdown is stressful for the best of us. We’ve been talking into a screen for the better part of a year and many are worried about having to interact in real life. Gone are the days of being able to mute someone on Zoom or blame bad internet when you want to sneak out of an event. Dave is all about bringing people together to have a laugh – and we’re thrilled to be working with CALM to help encourage people to start having real life conversations again following an extraordinary year of lockdown.’

Simon Gunning, CEO, CALM said, “There’s no denying lockdown has had an huge impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. In the 365 days following the first lockdown the CALM helpline has answered over 147,000 calls and chats. That is a call for help every 62 seconds, with chats and messages exchanged around topics such as isolation, anxiety, relationship concerns, health worries, financial stress and suicidal thoughts. 

After being stuck indoors for so long, having the ability to see your mates at the pub, visit our families and get out of the house is great. But understandably for many it might be uncomfortable getting back into the swing of things. We’re all on different timeframes, so It’s important not to expect too much. Humour is a great way to make people feel at ease and we’re delighted to be partnering with Dave to raise awareness, encourage people to talk more, and accept its ok not to be ok.”

Watch Stevie Martin, Ahir Shah, Darren Harriott, Seann Walsh and Ania Magliano in the Guide To Normality video below




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