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COVID-19: T.I.P.P.S. for Stressed-Out Teens

Written by Evolve's Behavioral Health Content Team​:

Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Melissa Vallas, MD, Shikha Verma, MD, Ellen Bloch, LCSW, Lianne Tendler, LMFT, Megan Johnston, LMFT

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an effective therapeutic approach for teens with various emotional, mood, and mental health disorders. DBT teaches skills you can use right away to manage stress, anxiety, and uncomfortable or unwanted patterns of thought.

One set of DBT skills is called The TIPP Skills.

You can learn these skills quickly and apply them immediately – which is especially helpful now, if you’re at home under a COVID-19 shelter in place order.

Ready to learn?

Here goes:

The T.I.P.P Skills

  • Temperature: Change your body temperature. Go to the nearest bathroom, lean over the sink, and splash your face with cold water. Or, if you happen to have a freezer pack in your lunchbox, hold it to your eyes and cheeks for 30 seconds. It really works!
  • Intense Exercise: Go to a corner and do some really intense running, walking, or jumping on the spot to get your heart rate up really quickly. (Some of our teens at Evolve like doing a set of 20 pushups on the spot) The one caveat is that you need to stop after a short time. Ten minutes is ideal. Then let your body bring your heart rate back down naturally.
  • Paced Breathing: Breathe from your abdomen. Slow your pace of breathing down, and try to breathe out more slowly than you breathe in. Ideally four seconds in, six second out. Keep this up for a minute or two, then return to normal breathing and see if you feel better.
  • Progressive Relaxation: Tighten your muscles one by one, for a few seconds each, and then let go. Start with your face and work your way down to your chest, hands, fingers, buttocks, legs, and toes. Tighten, relax. Tighten, relax. You can do this anywhere, anytime – at home while sheltering in place, for instance.

When the stress of COVID-19 shelter in place orders or social distancing guidelines causes extreme anxiety or negative emotions that are hard to handle, try one of the T.I.P.P. skills: they can help calm your mind and body quickly. We know they work: we do them with our teens in treatment almost every day.

Did you know? Evolve offers free virtual support groups for parents of teens seeking practical guidance and emotional support. Choose from our parent support groups on Tuesdays at 7pm PST or Thursdays at 10am PST.

Our Behavioral Health Content Team

We are an expert team of behavioral health professionals who are united in our commitment to adolescent recovery and well-being.

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We know parents need support, too. That is exactly why we offer a chance for parents of teens to connect virtually in a safe space! Each week parents meet to share resources and talk through the struggles of balancing child care, work responsibilities, and self-care.

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