Using “skills” in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are all about finding ways to get through the difficult moments that life throws your way (who doesn’t need that!?)
There’s this great skill in DBT called “vacation.” And I know what you’re thinking- yes, taking a vacation is a skill! With this skill, you’re not required to book a trip to a remote island- rather, you take a break from the daily grind of life for a short amount of time- it could be 2 minutes or it could be 2 hours. In that time, you might walk to the park and camp out with no obligations, work on an art project, or go into your bed and pull your covers over your head. It’s about doing something that gives you a momentary break from reality.
Here’s the catch though- you want to choose an escape from reality that doesn’t come with negative consequences or harm to yourself. Vacation can very easily turn into chronic procrastination if not used according to our own inner wisdom. If you find yourself getting lost in your vacation, set a timer and get really clear around the guidelines of your “vacation.” And of course, vacation is not a skill to use when you are responsible for children or vulnerable people who depend on your care.
Also, many people abuse the skill “vacation” by choosing a vacation, again and again, that takes them farther away from their long term goals, rather than closer. When you’re using vacation in a way that gets you closer to your goals, you choose to take a break so that you can be more rested, capable and energized to handle the difficult things thrown your way. When you use vacation to avoid or escape in an unhealthy way, you repeatedly choose activities like binging on food or drinking alcohol that actually lead you to feel worse in the outcome.
When used in a mindful way, vacation can be a great skill to unplug and give our brain and body a rest. So go ahead and name a few ways you can practice the “vacation” skill in your life. If you find yourself overwhelmed and exhausted- this skill is for you!