Taking care of our physical health during this time has become a priority, but our mental health is just as important. Marsha Linehan has developed many life skills in her Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) that can help you manage both your physical and mental health. One of the foundational skills is called PLEASE. It’s an acronym for things to check on daily so that you don’t become too vulnerable to your emotions.
PL – Treat Physical Illness
As we continue to go out only when necessary and wear the proper personal protective equipment (PPE) when we do, we also need to keep in mind our other health needs. If you are taking prescribed medication, you need to do your best to keep getting your refills on time. If you are menstruating or going through any other regular physical ailment, you need to acknowledge that it may make you more susceptible to your emotions. Take whatever steps you need in order to treat yourself best.
E – Balance Eating
When we think about eating healthy, we tend to believe we need to go on a diet, but this step is about making sure you stay on a regular eating schedule and eat a good variety of foods. These two are especially hard for us nowadays because our regular schedules have been adjusted, and most of us are cooking at home more than usual. If you need help with eating your meals regularly, you can ask your household members or friends to be your accountability buddy (they may need the support just as much as you). If you need help creating variety in your meals, this is the perfect time to learn a family recipe, a recipe from a friend or even one from a popular YouTube star.
A – Avoid Mood-Altering Substances
Cutting out alcohol, caffeine, tobacco or other substances can be a good change. If you have been wanting to work on it, this may be a good time. In some ways, now can be harder, and that’s okay too. It’s important to keep track of consumption and try to avoid or limit its use when you are already susceptible to your emotions.
S – Balance Sleep
Like eating regularly, it is important to sleep regularly. It has become easier to go to bed and wake up whenever you want since we rarely leave our homes right now, but keeping yourself on a schedule can help. If you end up going to bed later or waking up later, try to sleep the same number of hours to keep some consistency.
E – Get Exercise
Most of us know that exercise is important, but most of us relied on leaving the house to get exercise. Many people have been going on hikes, but that has made the regular trails around the city packed with people. If you go hiking or walking, try to find a lesser known path. If you want to stay home, there are many virtual workouts like yoga, dancing or martial arts. You could even play with your pets or kids as exercise for them and yourself.
Thank you for taking the time to read this! Until we meet again in person, please wash your hands, maintain social distance and stay close to home. We are in this together.
Source: Linehan, M. M. (2015). DBT® skills training handouts and worksheets (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.