I like to use DBT’s PLEASE skills, which encourage you to take care of your mind by taking care of your body. PLEASE stands for treating physical illness, practicing balanced eating, avoiding mood altering drugs, getting enough sleep, and exercising. Implementing them is simple:
• Treating physical illnesses is the first step. Remember to take your medications, go to the doctor, and take care of your health.
• Eating a balanced diet is also important. Eat your normal three meals per day, and make sure you have food in your system, even if it’s just an apple or a salad.
• Avoiding drugs and alcohol might seem difficult, but it can help you control your emotions more effectively.
• Maintaining a regular sleep schedule is one of the most important things you can do! We need sleep, so adhere to your routine: go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time, and avoid Facebook or the news in bed.
• Getting exercise on a regular basis can help release endorphins in your brain and relieve stress.
• Another great technique to help keep you level is self-soothing. This process involves using the five senses to do things that are calming and pleasing:
• Look at a picture of someplace that reminds you of happy times, like the beach or the woods.
• Watch a candle flame.
• Listen to pleasant sounds, such as a nature app on your phone that plays thunder storms, ocean waves, or rain.
• Eat chocolate (or drink tea) mindfully, being fully aware of the taste, texture, and sensation when you eat it.
• Keep essential oils in your bag or at your desk for a soothing scent.
• Find comforting textures. This could mean wearing a piece of jewelry that grounds you, having a super soft blanket to snuggle with, or cuddling a pet!
Following the above steps can help give you a roadmap for taking care of basic needs during tough times. Remember: you can’t expect to help others until you’re taking care of yourself.