Sometimes, our emotions can be overwhelming. Sometimes, it’s our situations that are overwhelming. And sometimes, it’s a mixture of both. Either way, we can’t avoid the fact that we will face challenges in our lifetimes. Knowing that we will inevitably be forced to face some sort of pain, what are some preemptive steps we can take the equip ourselves for those moments?
Getting yourself suited up with a list of coping skills can be a positive way to deal with the challenges. Some of you may be well-versed in coping skills, and some of you may be hearing it for the first time. One way to define a coping skill is:
A behavioral pattern that advances a person’s adaption to a conflict.
Let’s look at some helpful tips for finding the ones that work for you!
Start with things you already enjoy.
What do you like to do in your spare time? Are you a creative person? Do you like to paint, or write, or draw? Art is a great way to cope with what we are feeling.
Not an artist? That’s okay! Do you like to exercise? Think about taking a walk, going for a run, or just escaping to the gym for a couple hours.
Think about other things that genuinely bring you joy. Is there a specific album, or movie that you love? Going to the humane society and playing with the animals? Everyone is different and we all have our own ways of finding joy. Think about what that could be for you, and hold onto that!
Talk about it.
Sometimes it feels like we have no one to talk to. And unfortunately, there are times when we truly find ourselves in that situation. At times there is no one in our lives that we trust enough to talk about what is bothering us. If you find yourself in this situation, crisis lines can be a great place to talk through what you are feeling, and brainstorm coping skills with your crisis worker.
Even if you are lucky enough to have someone you trust in your life, it can be difficult to open up. That’s normal! Being vulnerable is tough stuff. But it can be so worth it in the end. Ask your trusted person if they have some uninterrupted time they can give to you. If you aren’t sure how to start, write a letter first, and either hand it your trusted person, or read it to them.
Keep yourself in a safe space, and make it comfortable! For me, that means turning on my twinkle lights, lighting my tropical citrus candle, and putting on some fuzzy socks.
What makes you feel comfortable? Sometimes a warm cup of tea, a soft blanket, or a warm shower can get you comfortable. Explore what makes you feel safe, and calm.
Mix and match.
Try putting these things together. For example, paint a picture while talking to a friend in your nice comfy robe!
Remember, everyone is different and the same things don’t work for everyone. Sometimes it takes some experimenting to discover what really helps you cope. If you feel that these skills aren’t working for you, or you need more support in addition to coping skills, therapy is always an option you can look into. In the meantime, here are some resources to get you connected to a crisis worker today!
Common Ground Crisis Line: (800) 231-1127
National Suicide Prevention Line: (800) 275-TALK
Crisis Text Line: 741-741
Author: Lisa Johns, Resource and Crisis Helpline Supervisor at Common Ground