4 Tried and True Coping Skills You Can Use This Week

In my article about unhealthy coping skills, I explained that coping skills are simply things we do to help us feel better. One of my goals for this article was to explain that coping skills can be both healthy and unhealthy, and to normalize unhealthy coping skills.

While unhealthy coping skills are normal, they can still get in the way of life. That’s why it’s helpful to have a handful of go-to coping skills for the times when we need them. 

It can be challenging to come up with a list of healthy coping skills that actually work. So I sat down and brainstormed a list coping skills that my clients have used with success in the past.

Here are four healthy coping skills that you can try out this week:

1. Cleaning. When we’re feeling anxious or low, our home environment might start going by the wayside. Are the dishes piling up? Is the bathroom starting to feel a little cluttered? Maybe laundry has taken a backseat and you’re seeing less and less of your bedroom floor? It’s amazing how much our environment affects us, and having a clean and organized living space can work wonders, not to mention the satisfaction of being productive and seeing the results of our hard work.

2. Hanging out with friends. While socializing is a well-known healthy coping skill, this is something that I remind my clients to be thoughtful of. Spend time with individuals who lift you up, not drag you down. Who are the people in your life that you genuinely enjoy? Who are the people that make you feel good? Who are the people that you can be 100% yourself with? Those are your people.

3. Hanging out in a public place. This may sound a bit odd, but this one is especially helpful for distracting ourselves and avoiding the temptation to isolate. Hanging out at a coffee shop, walking around at the mall, doing homework at the library, people watching at the park (when the Minnesota cold lets up)… these are all activities that get you out of the house and in an energetic environment.

4. Watching a favorite movie or show. What are some of your favorite movies? Action-packed comedies or feel-good movies are good options, but watch whatever makes you feel good. I absolutely love The Office, and when I’m in a funk, I’ll watch a couple episodes to distract myself and give myself a mini break. It works like a charm (as long as I don’t end up watching three seasons and camping out in my room all day… which has happened once or twice in the past).

So there you have it – four healthy coping skills that you can try out this week. And I’ll be honest – some coping skills just won’t “stick” like others will. It really depends on the person and what suits them and their needs.

If you’re in the beginning stages of trying out new healthy coping skills, it may take some trial and error until you find a few that really stick. In a couple weeks, I’ll write about four more coping skills you can try that also incorporate aspects of mindfulness. They serve as helpful distractions and help you tune in to the present and find a sense of calm.

Read more about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in St. Paul, MN, or feel free to schedule a free 20-minute phone consultation with me so we can connect and see if we would be a good fit.