Finding a Coping Strategy When Life Puts You on Edge

Have you ever had one of those weeks? It’s filled with stress, disappointment, and hard work. The moments of rest are few and far between. A family member treats you unfairly. People are relying on you to get things done when your “to do” list is a mile long. You want it to be Friday but it’s only Tuesday. What you need right now is a coping strategy.

I’m in the middle of a week like that. These kinds of weeks don’t happen all that often, but when they do they put me off kilter. I feel burdened for some of the people who have revealed their heartaches and problems to me. My “to do” list is longer than usual because my fall is filled with commitments and speaking engagements. Some of my regular work has been put off, but it needs to be accomplished by Friday. It’s not really all that bad. It’s just that when things like this add up I can’t seem to relax.

Right in the middle of it all I was reminded that we all sometimes need coping strategies to make it through. I’m blessed to be part of a clergy council for our local Christian counseling center. We get together every quarter to learn and to talk. It’s always well worth making the time to be there.

Today we learned about coping strategies. Some strategies distract you, some ground you, and some calm you and relax you. Not all coping strategies are healthy. They might mask your stress, or even make it worse.

But a healthy coping strategy is beneficial and helpful. As we discussed this at our meeting today I realized that one of my coping mechanisms is doing what I’m doing right now: writing. It’s why I try to be consistent by posting right here two to three times a week, and writing other things on most other days.

Here are some other strategies:

  • Exercise
  • Take a nap
  • Talk about it
  • Listen to music or a favorite song
  • Thirty seconds of deep breathing
  • Change what you’re doing for a short time
  • Help someone else
  • Eat a healthy snack
  • Read something enjoyable
  • Write or journal

What coping strategies have been helpful for you?


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2 thoughts on “Finding a Coping Strategy When Life Puts You on Edge

  1. I detach from whats going on with music. If I need energy go back to music of younger days. There is times I need to calm I go to Christian rock.

  2. I need a coping strategy this week =- yesterday I tripped and fell in our basement, requiring 15 stitches in my LEFT hand. What a pain (literally and figuratively. Ah well, this, too, shall pass. (hmmm, hard typing with only half a left hand!)