If your usual support or therapy has been put on hold, is less frequent or has been changed to telephone support you may be looking for self help tools and resources to help you. We have compiled a list of resources in the accordion tab below:
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
DBT is one of the most effective therapeutic treatment approaches for issues related to emotional dysregulation. Focusing on the psychosocial aspects of therapy and development of skills for dealing with highly charged emotional situations. These skills cover mindfulness, tolerating distress and getting through a crisis, regulating your emotions and improving your relationships and assertiveness. The blog post for the top ten sites for DBT workshops lists some different websites available for downloading informative resources. There are some other resources listed below:
- If you are looking for resources that cover the four different areas of DBT, you might find the full DBT self-help workbooks useful.
- The Centre for Clinical Interventions website has some workbooks and information sheets on tolerating distress.
- The Get Self Help website describes the STOPP (meaning; stop, take a breath, observe, pull back and take perspective, and practice what works) method in more detail.
There are a number of ways to support yourself during a crisis:
Changing your temperature
We can induce the dive reflex by putting our face in very cold water whole holding our breath, it starts to work after around 30 to 60 seconds. This reflex lowers our heart rate to below its normal resting rate. Caution: Please never try this if you have any heart problems without your doctor’s permission.
How to do it: Hold your breath while putting your face under very cold water, as far as your temples. Try and stay in the water for 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can try holding an ice pack on your eyes and cheek area for 30 seconds while holding your breath. The effect is increased if you stand and bend your head over while doing this skill. It’s an unusual sensation, but give it a try to feel how it works before a crisis.
Anxiety decreases when our heart rate gets up to 70% of it’s maximum limit, and positive emotions are increased after about 20 to 30 minutes of intense exercise.
How to do it: Try going for a walk or doing an aerobic exercise (such as running, jumping jacks, or cycling) for 20 minutes.
Our bodies naturally relax when we breathe out, so if we can slow our breathing down & breathe out for longer than we breathe in then we start to relax. This can be used at anytime.
How to do it: Breathe in deeply, using your diaphragm (abdomen). Count the number of seconds for each breath in and each breath out. Aim to breathe out for a longer count than you breathe in. Count your breath, so if you’re are counting 4 for the in breath, then count 5 or 6 when breathing out.
Paired muscle relaxation
When we create tension in a muscle, and then release the tension, the muscle has to relax which in turn, relaxes our bodies.
How to do it: The pairing comes from relaxing the muscles at the same time as breathing out. Tense an area of the body, notice the tension and hold the tension for 5 to 10 seconds. Then release the tension and relax for 5 to 10 seconds. When relaxing the muscle, breathe out and say the word “relax”. Continue with different areas of the body. Notice how the body feels when it is tense, and when it is relaxed. It takes practice to be able to do all these things at the same time.
If your mind is your worst critic
If you find your mind is constantly putting you down or repeating every nasty word you’ve had directed at you, finding ways to ‘unhook’ from everything your mind tells you or developing some self compassion can be helpful.
We are often supportive, understanding and compassionate to others, but are much harsher and critical towards ourselves in the same situation. Learning to be more compassionate with ourselves leads to a calmer mind, better relationships, less anxiety and depression, and an increased sense of self worth.
The Get Self Help website has a useful guide on how to learn self compassion, and also a useful guide on how to “unhook” yourself and difuse your thoughts.
The Centre for Clinical Interventions self compassion workbook is designed to provide you with some information and practical skills to help you be less critical and more compassionate towards yourself.
The Self Compassion website has a range of guided meditations and exercises to complete.