Healthy Coping Strategies

Practicing healthy coping strategies affects every aspect of our well being. They help us navigate difficult situations effectively and have more joy in life. There are lots of healthy ways to cope with stress. Below are some suggestions for things you can try: 

Emotional: 

  • Consistently do activities that make you happy. 

Small and simple things can go a long way to energize you. Listen to music, take a hot bath, or grab some ice cream with a friend. Try to find a time before you are exhausted to do something you enjoy.

  • Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is the state of being conscious of the present moment. There are several components to stress (e.g., fear, anxiety, and worry) all of which hinder us from being focused in the present moment. Take 5 minutes a day to include mindfulness as part of your daily routine. 

Here are some helpful apps to get started:

Headspace:  https://www.headspace.com/ 

Breathe: http://breatheapp.co/ 

  • Create a safe space

When the world seems chaotic, it’s important that you have somewhere to go to get away momentarily. This might be spending time outdoors, at a friend’s house, or even in your own bedroom. Pick a safe place that brings you peace.

Mental: 

  • Have a consistent morning and bedtime routine

Daily routines create structure and dependability. They also reduce racing thoughts during the day and help you sleep better at night.  

  • Take a 20-minute nap

What better way to boost your energy during the day than a rejuvenating nap. Set an alarm if you’re worried about oversleeping, and make sure your nap isn’t too close to bedtime.

  • Journaling

Taking a few minutes daily to journal allows you to document your experiences and track your personal progression. Journaling also allows you to release difficult emotions and thoughts. This can be very therapeutic and help you let go of worries that are stressing you out.

Physical:

  • Get 30 minutes of exercise every day.  

Make it fun. Go on a walk with friends. Participate in a recreational sport like softball or basketball. Enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, rock climbing, zip lining or skiing. Switch up your exercise routine. The purpose is not to have visible abs or strong legs, it is about feeling good and having a healthy body.

  • Make sure to eat three healthy meals a day.

Eating healthy meals will enhance your ability to concentrate in school. Choosing nutritious foods will give you better energy during the day without leaving you feeling sluggish or heavy. 

  • Get plenty of Zzzz’s 

Sleep is super important for a healthy mind and body. It has been proven that lack of sleep increases cortisol, a primary stress hormone, throughout the body. Too much cortisol can disrupt almost all your body’s processes and lead to health problems, (Source: Mayo Clinic) so make sure to get enough sleep to feel well-rested! For most teens, this can mean sleeping more than 9 hours per night. That time commitment may seem large, but it’s worth it to feel better and be more alert and productive during the day.

Relationships: 

  • Healthy Boundaries 

You have the right to set acceptable guidelines and limits (boundaries) for how people treat you. Some common boundaries include how much time you spend together, how you talk about feelings, and what you are comfortable doing for another person.

  • Communication

Connecting with a person you trust can be a huge stress reliever. Try identifying some safe people in your life whom you feel comfortable talking to when you are stressed. Keep a list of these people, especially for those times when you feel like you have no one to talk to. 

Talking face to face is the best way to communicate, but when that’s not an option you can also talk on the phone, Facetime, text, write a letter, or email. 

Photo: Ian

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