10 DBT Skills for mental health during COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has been impacting all of our lives in ways that we might not fully understand. It is important for us to continue to follow the CDC and WHO's recommendations for reducing the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing and hand washing. In addition to taking precautions for our physical health and wellbeing, I think it is also important for us to be learning how to care for our mental health during this time.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is full of specific skills to help build up your emotional and mental immune system to fight off unwanted anxiety and depression that are easily spread during this world wide pandemic.

Top 10 DBT Skills to help during COVID-19

  1. Wise Mind Learning how to access the wisdom within you that integrates both your emotions and logical facts in order to move forward.

  2. Check the Facts Examining our thoughts and checking them against the facts of a situation in order to reduced perceived threats and catastrophes increasing our emotions.

  3. Accumulate Positive Experiences Doing fun positive things on a daily basis to increase the pleasantness of your day to day life.

  4. Build Mastery Doing something to feel accomplished daily to increase a sense of accomplishment and control.

  5. Cope Ahead Plan for future negative emotions with an attitude of problem solving and solutions instead of worry and hopelessness.

  6. PLEASE PLEASE is an acronym that encourages you to take care of your physical health to reduce your vulnerability to your emotions. - Physical illnesses: Make sure you are taking care of your physical health by taking medications. - Lather: Put some sort of soap on your body and wash it off DAILY. - Eating: Consume 3 balanced meals a day at regular meal times, with snacks between. - Avoid mood altering substances: It may seem like a good idea to day drink and quarantine but it is not. Watch caffeine intake as well. - Sleep: Stay to a regular sleep schedule. Not having to go into work can throw you off. - Exercise: 20 minutes a day and get your heart rate up. Doing a video on youtube can be easy and fun.

  7. Distract Doing different types of activities to get your mind off of things you can't change in the short term.

  8. IMPROVE IMPROVE is an acronym (yes another acronym, DBT is a lot of acronyms) that helps us to improve the quality of the present moment until it changes. - Imagery: Using visualization to avoid or reduce the intensity of the moment. - Meaning: How can this moment provide meaning for you or others. - Prayer: Turning over things to a higher power. - Relaxing: If the moment is hard enough there is no need for additional strain, try to relax. - One thing in the moment: Focus on 1 thing you can control, even if it feels small - Vacation: Get out of the situation physical or mentally, even if it's sitting next to a picture of the beach in the bathroom for 5 minutes - Encouraging and rethinking the situation: Cheerlead yourself mentally instead of using the brain power for worry.

  9. Radical Acceptance Accepting that things are what they are, even if it is painful. "it is what, it is".

  10. Willingness The ability to engage in your life fully, even if it isn't the life you want right now.