The Return to ‘Normal’ Is Going to Be So Awkward

Vaccines are here, unemployment is down, and the pandemic is nearing its end. These are obviously good things. Still, the idea of returning to “normal” might seem daunting. That’s because our brains aren’t used to being in crisis mode for so long. All that anxiety and uncertainty that’s built up over the past year is going to take a while to go away.

This week on Gadget Lab, WIRED science writer Matt Simon joins us to talk about the psychology of reentry anxiety, and WIRED service editor Alan Henry offers some tips on how to manage it.

Show Notes

Read Matt Simon’s story about the psychology of returning to “normal” here. Read Adrienne So’s story about vaccine FOMO here.


Alan recommends the game Monster Hunter Rise. Matt recommends the show People Just Do Nothing. Mike recommends Hari Kunzru’s podcast Into the Zone. Lauren recommends the film Minari.

Alan Henry can be found on Twitter @halophoenix. Matt Simon is @mrMattSimon. Lauren Goode is @LaurenGoode. Michael Calore is @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. The show is produced by Boone Ashworth (@booneashworth). Our theme music is by Solar Keys.

If you have feedback about the show, or just want to enter to win a $50 gift card, take our brief listener survey here.

WIRED Brand Lab is a creative studio from the publisher of WIRED. The WIRED newsroom is not involved in the creation of Brand Lab content.

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