Kristen Roman | Director of the Young Adult Program:

As the weather gets colder in NYC, many of us are noticing anxiety and sadness creeping in about what this will mean for our social lives. The warmer months brought relief as many of us were able to spend time outside in nice weather with loved ones, which offered a safer way to experience long-awaited in-person connection that we’d been craving during the early stages of the pandemic.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you get ready for the change in seasons:

Trust your gut— in DBT we have a skill called “Wise Mind” which helps us make decisions based on combining knowledge from our emotions, reason, and intuitive knowing. Each person’s Wise Mind may be different (and yours may differ moment to moment), so try and listen to what your own wisdom is telling you is “right” for you. Reflect on the decisions you have been making lately (e.g., indoor dining, going to indoor hangouts that pushes the limits of the number of people), and see whether your Wise Mind is telling you to shift away from something that hasn’t felt right for you. Practice acceptance of yourself if you regret a decision after the fact—this is new territory for everyone and there’s a learning curve to figure out what we’re comfortable with.

Reality acceptance— as much as you may have grown to dread Zoom happy hours and virtual game nights and gotten used to seeing friends and family in person outdoors, it may be time to accept the changing reality and increase willingness to return to the ways you felt connected to others during the early stages of the pandemic. Start scheduling virtual hangouts, such as Zoom Friendsgiving and White Elephant gift exchanges, now to have things to look forward to. Accepting reality may also involve stocking up on games and hobbies to do indoors, whether alone or with those you live with.

Practice assertiveness— as we all try to navigate this new phase, you may find that some people in your life have different limits than you. Friends, family, and potential dating partners may pressure you to hang out in a way that doesn’t feel safe to you or tease you for “taking things so seriously.” This is a great opportunity to practice standing firm in a choice that aligns with your values. We can validate that others are entitled to their own choices, while still reiterating our own stance.

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