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  • Writer's pictureCassidy Lovallo

Navigating the Holidays with Resilience: A DBT-Inspired Guide to Mental Well-Being

The holiday season can be a time of joy, celebration, and togetherness, but it can also bring its fair share of stress and emotional challenges.

As a therapist, I often find that incorporating Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) coping skills can be immensely helpful for individuals striving to maintain their mental well-being during this time. In this blog post, we'll explore some key DBT coping skills and how you can apply them to navigate the holiday season with resilience and balance.


The holiday hustle often brings a whirlwind of activities and obligations. Practicing mindfulness can ground you in the present moment, allowing you to savor the joys without getting swept away by stress.

Try incorporating mindfulness into your holiday routine by focusing on your breath during a quiet moment, or by truly savoring the flavors and textures of your favorite holiday treat.

Emotion Regulation

Emotions can run high during the holidays, from excitement to stress and everything in between. DBT's emotion regulation skills can be particularly useful. Identify and label your emotions, and consider keeping an emotion regulation diary to track patterns.

When overwhelming feelings arise, try the TIPP skill – Temperature, Intense Exercise, Paced Breathing, and Progressive Muscle Relaxation – to help bring emotions to a more manageable level.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

Family and other large social gatherings can be both rewarding and challenging. DBT's interpersonal effectiveness skills teach us how to navigate complex social situations.

Use DEAR MAN (Describe, Express, Assert, Reinforce, Mindful, Appear confident, Negotiate) to communicate your needs effectively, maintain boundaries, and foster healthier relationships during these moments.

Wise Mind Decision-Making

The holiday season often demands decision-making, from gift choices to event planning. DBT encourages us to access our "Wise Mind" – the integration of emotion mind and reasonable mind.

Before making decisions, consider the pros and cons, weigh emotions against facts, and strive for a balanced, wise-minded approach that aligns with your values.


By incorporating DBT coping skills into your holiday routine, you can foster a sense of balance, resilience, and well-being. Remember that the holidays are a time for self-care and reflection, and it's okay to prioritize your mental health.

By being mindful, regulating your emotions, navigating relationships effectively, and tolerating distress, you can approach the holiday season with a greater sense of control and peace.

Here's to a season of joy, connection, and self-discovery!

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