As various phases of reopening are reached, many people are confused, ambivalent, and overwhelmed by the prospect of things “going back to normal.” This is only reasonable. We have some guidance from officials, like suggestions from governors and the CDC about group gatherings, and of course wearing a mask and washing your hands, but the reality is that safety cannot be guaranteed right now. So, how do we begin to leave our homes and re-enter the world with that knowledge?
1. Use Wise Mind. A concept from Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), the concept of wise mind encourages us to use both our emotional mind as well as our “calculator,” or robot mind, when making decisions. For example, our emotional mind might tell us “I miss my friends so much and am so lonely—I’m going to this meet up of 20 people without a doubt,” while our calculator mind might say, “There’s no way this could possibly be 100% safe. I’m staying home indefinitely.”
The idea is to find some middle ground, considering both your emotional or gut reaction, along with aspects of our more analytical, strict or robot mind. So in this case, maybe our wise mind would tell us, “An indoor gathering of 20 people might not be safe, as much as I want to see my friends. Maybe I’ll suggest a smaller group come over to my house and spend time outdoors, wearing masks, to be safe and also be social.”