The end of last year was hard. I wish I could say that it was this sudden event that caused my world to turn upside down but it wasn’t. It was a series of small actions that lead to me making myself small, not practicing healthy boundary settings, and the worst depressive episode I have ever had. After taking a very long pause on all things not absolutely necessary, getting back on anti-depressants, and finding a therapist I can trust – I have revised what coping skills I use. I learned painful lessons and as I’m starting to come through the other side, I am understanding that it’s the little things that I CAN do every day that make a huge difference in my stress levels and how I can create the healthy lifestyle of my dreams.
I learned that what I was doing wasn’t helping me cope with life’s challenges. My actions were helping me ignore life’s challenges and it was making my depression and anxiety worse. I’ve gotten to a point where I can recognize that these actions aren’t “bad” they just don’t help me when I’m feeling stressed. I’ve taken a look at my top offenders and decided to let go of massively binging Netflix, staying in the bed all day, and drinking alcohol. Instead, I’ve been replacing them with healthier coping methods for me. Some of my favorites are below.
Drinking Hot Water or Tea
I decided to stop drinking until I am firm on what healthy coping strategies work for me. So far, drinking a cup of hot water with lemon or some tea has been doing wonders for me. I love the calming properties of drinking something hot has on my body. It reminds me to slow down my breathing and focus on all the good in the midst of the mess.
Journaling and Praying
This isn’t new to me. But its something that absolutely is part of my healthy routine. Journaling is the way I have therapy and church with myself in my everyday moments. I write for about an hour and it feels so good to pray after getting all my thoughts and worries and fears on paper. When I write down what is bothering me it is often that I truly see for the first time how ridiculous my fears sound. In my house, it’s clear that if I’m journaling I’m not to be disturbed. I love that I can take some time with my thoughts and talk to God via paper.
Playing a game of Crash Team Racing™ Nitro-Fueled
As a “non-gamer,” picking up this hobby has helped me focus on something else besides what is bothering me at the moment. It’s also especially nice when I get to play with my fiancé. It typically turns into a competition and I love beating him at video games. The combination of quality time with someone I love and the relief of not focusing on my problems is one of my favorite two for one specials.
Below are more of my tried and true *healthy* coping mechanisms for life’s hard moments.
- Crying (Trust me. This helps!)
- Talking to a loved one
- Taking a long shower and doing an extended version of my skincare routine while looking in the mirror and telling myself nice things
- Opening the blinds or stepping outside for a few minutes
- Doing what I have been avoiding for only 30 minutes
- Reading my “anti-depression” cards full of affirmations that I created
- Listen to “Bigger” by Beyoncé on repeat until I switch over to the BeyChella live album
- Stretching and breathing exercises
- Writing a list of things that I am proud of myself for or writing things that I am grateful for at that moment
- Using the word no
- Taking a deep breathe and saying exactly what is on my mind in a kind and polite way
What do you do every day to help you cope with life’s mess? Let me know in the comments below!