I’ve been quiet for the past few weeks. Not sure quite what to say or write, which is not typical for me. Like many of you, I have been watching how COVID-19 is impacting our communities, country, and world. I cannot wrap my mind around the complexity of the effect and what’s to come. Our loved ones lost, our essential workers, our education systems, and our economy. Not to mention the emotional impact. I have felt fear, anger, sadness, and even joy (in the beauty of humanity). However, I also know that during this global and personal crisis, if we allow our feelings to be in charge, panic and confusion will surface.
Although there is much ambiguity regarding the future, what I am sure about is we must stay in the present, express our feelings with someone safe, listen to ourselves and each other even in disagreement, stay connected, practice self-care, and walk-in love. We must be tolerant of others and firm with ourselves. With this said, instead of being quiet, I’d like to promote connection and share simple mindfulness activities with you all. Implementing these simple tools in our lives can help reduce stress and help us do all of the above. Here is a little Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) acronym, which Judith Belmont (2016) teaches that I often share with my clients.
The acronym for distress tolerance is IMPROVE, and when implementing the skills of this technique, people of all ages can develop better-coping strategies. I invite you to personalize and make these strategies part of your everyday routine.
Imagery – Use imagery to visualize a peaceful scene; whether used through guided imagery or relaxation apps, give it a try.
Meaning – Find meaning in each experience you have. Through every experience, we have the opportunity to grow.
Prayer – Ask for help from your higher spiritual power, or even other people. It is through divine and personal connections we find hope in sometimes hopeless situations.
Relaxation – Breathe. Slow and deep breathing is calming and increases our oxygen levels.
One – Focus on taking one step at a time, one thing at a time, and one day at a time.
Vacation – Well, during this time, we must improvise, so vacation may even look like getting out of the house and taking a walk.
Encouragement- Be your own cheerleader. Say nice things to yourself.
I hope this tool is one that you find helpful and useful. Until we meet again my friends.
Belmont, J. A. (2016). 150 More group therapy activities & tips: handouts, activities,worksheets.Eau Claire, WI: PESI. Publishing & Media.