#25: Coping With COVID-19 [Part 2]

#25: Coping With COVID-19 [Part 2]

Today, Marielle and Ed continue to discuss DBT skills to cope during a pandemic. We are all going through a collective trauma and need extra support. The DBT skill called Check The Facts is explored. We also explore the difficulty in using this skill during a time when things are rapidly changing and uncertain. Using Check the Facts coupled with Mindfulness may be helpful to remind yourself that you are ok right in this moment.

The importance of dialectics is also discussed to avoid getting stuck in either/or thinking and rigidity. Flexibility helps us respond to an ongoing highly stressful situation, rather than react. 

Gentleness with ourselves and others is very important right now. We all need an extra dose of patience and self-compassion. Some people are pressuring themselves to do a lot during this time, not quite realizing what an emotionally exhausting time this is. Continual anxiety is draining. You are not going to be able to do it all and that’s ok. Watch out for berating yourself for not doing more.

Marielle and Ed also review PLEASE skills that help you regulate your emotions and decrease your vulnerability to Emotion Mind by focusing on caring for your physical well-being.

Show Highlights:

  • Our nervous systems are activated, this is a collective trauma
  • Check the Facts is a skill to use when you have an emotion that you want to change
  • Figuring out how much of the emotion is based on facts or on assumptions, judgments, and interpretations
  • When the facts of a situation are painful, challenging, and changing day to day, Check the Facts is harder to use
  • Asking yourself: “How much fuel am I adding to the fire?”
  • People are naturally searching for facts and knowledge to protect ourselves and we are getting conflicting information
  • In this moment: “Am I safe? Am I ok? Are my loved ones ok?”
  • Noticing how assumptions inflame emotions
  • In DBT, the skills are often interwoven. Check the Facts needs to be used with Mindfulness and Radical Acceptance
  • Thinking about staying emotionally flexible
  • Also ask yourself: Is acting on this emotion right now effective?
  • Humor is helpful when trying to do Opposite Action with anger
  • Skills that build up emotional resilience: ABC PLEASE skills
  • PL: treating physical illness. When we are physically sick, it depletes our energy to manage emotions.
  • E: balanced eating. Making sure to regularly nourish yourself.
  • A: avoiding mood-alerting substances. For some this means not using them all. If you are drinking or using drugs, be mindful of what works for you and notice if it exacerbates emotionality. 
  • S: sleep. Doing what you can to keep regular sleep times
  • E: exercise. Finding outlets to release energy and anxiety.

Links & Resources

DBT Skills Training Handouts and Worksheets, Second Edition

The Skillful Podcast Episode #15: Check the Facts

The Skillful Podcast Episode #16: Opposite Action

Ask us a Question

We’d love to hear from you! Where are you getting stuck with your skills application? Ask us a question for the chance to have it answered on the podcast. Submit your question here. 

Please note that questions, and this podcast in general, are not a substitute for individual mental health treatment.