By: Michelle Bottone, LMFT
The pandemic has been a lengthy period of uncertainty which can cause increased stressors in many areas of our lives. Given the CDC guidelines and in order to interact with others, most of us have been relegated to socializing via technology platforms, such as Zoom with colleagues, family, and friends.
Recently, the majority of companies have announced their respective employee return to work dates. Does the thought of re-socialization seem daunting? Do you find yourself doubting your ability to navigate this transition? Take a deep breath, help is accessible. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills can assist in increasing your resiliency and your ability to re-integrate socially whether if it’s back to the office or school.
1. Practice self-validation.
Self-validating is act of practicing self-compassion by acknowledging, allowing and understanding how you are feeling. An example of this could be saying to yourself, “It is okay that I am feeling anxious right now. I haven’t set foot in the office for over a year. All my meetings have been through Zoom, it makes sense that I may be a little nervous.”
2. Check the facts.
What am I assuming? Am I overestimating a potential threat and underestimating my ability to cope? Example: “I am assuming that I might stutter when speaking to a colleague in person for the first time. I speak all the time to my coworkers via Zoom without stuttering. If I do happen to stutter, it’s okay. In my last performance evaluation, my manager wrote that I have strong communication skills. Even the best public speakers, trip up on their words at times.”
3. Cope ahead.
Consider practicing a plan ahead of time so that you feel prepared to cope effectively with the situation. Example: “If I begin to feel anxious when talking to a coworker in person, I will practice using the half smile skill because I know that our facial expressions are partially linked to our feelings.”
Certainly, any change can feel challenging. It is crucial to be mindful that the training of one’s mind is similar to training for a marathon, it does take time. In various ways the pandemic experience has been a detour in many people’s lives. Therefore, realize that DBT skills can help better enable your post pandemic return and put you back on the road to YOUR FUTURE.