Welcome to COPING!
Now that we understand stuff like the “stress response” and what stress can feel and look like in our minds, bodies and behaviours, let’s talk about how we can DEAL with it all.
Handling stress is NOT a matter of getting rid of it entirely, it’s about learning how to ride the waves!
So, how can we learn to ride the waves of stress?
So what is Coping?
“Coping” is the word we use to describe the ways in which we manage all the stress, difficulty, pressure and tough stuff that comes up in our lives.
There are lots of different ways to cope with stress and we like to call these different ways “Coping Tools” or “Coping Strategies”.
You’ve probably heard of some common coping tools, like: “Take a bubble bath!” or “Go for a nice long walk!” or “Listen to your favourite music”…
All those are all great ones that can help reduce stress each in their own way, but… we’re going to share a BIG secret with you… ready?
It’s true! Because we will all deal with more than one kind of stressor across our lives, we can’t JUST use one single coping strategy or tool to solve ALL of our problems, right? Right!
So how do we cope?
To make sense of all the different kinds of coping tools to choose from, we like to talk about effectively coping with our stress in terms of practicing something called “Self-Care”
SELF-CARE: Let's break that one down...
Self: The “self” includes your body, mind, heart and soul – so basically, ALL of you! And you are someone worth caring for
Care: It’s pretty easy to be hard on ourselves, but think about how you would support a friend or loved one. How would you treat them to make them feel cared for?
With “Self-Care”, it’s all about taking the care we give to others, and turning it inward – essentially, it’s like being your own best friend!
6 Types of Self-Care
Click each category below to learn about all the different ways to self-care:
Making the most of your Coping Toolbox
As you can see, there are lots of different ways to manage stress and practice self-care, but it turns out that not all coping tools can help us with the all the different kinds of stressors we may face in our lives.
So how do we know what coping tool to apply to what stressor?
Well, it’s important to know that because each person’s life, experiences, knowledge, skills and situation are all different, it means we all learn to cope differently as well.
Getting to know ourselves, what works for us, and what we need to work at, are important steps in becoming a StressLESS pro!
Applying our Coping Skills
While there IS a place for each different kind of coping strategy in our coping toolbox (and we don’t like to judge one as ALL GOOD or ALL BAD), we CAN also get better at coping by learning to apply the best tool for the job!
Using the Right Tool for the Job!
Would it be a good idea to try to fix a broken lightbulb with a hammer? Hmmm… Our vote is NOPE!
Well, dealing with stress is the same thing – it doesn’t work super well unless your coping strategy matches what your stressor!
3 Tips to Stress LESS!
There are 3 super-tips to learning how to apply the right tool for the job when it comes to managing and reducing stress.
Name it to Tame it
We like to say “Name it to Tame it!” That means we need to know WHAT we’re feeling stressed about in order to know HOW to deal with it.
Pro tip: Often to name the stressor, it helps to also name the feeling or emotions you’re experiencing, the thoughts you’re having (remember back to what we learned about our stress response: fight, flight, freeze!)
“I have 3 HUGE exams coming up next week and I am feeling so overwhelmed!”
Ask: How could this help?
When we know what is causing us stress, we can then explore what kind of coping or self-care approach would help us most.
Questions to ask yourself:
Do I have a lot of control or only a little/no control over this stressful thing?
“I think if I could study enough to feel confident about going into these exams, I would feel less stressed…”
Will the coping strategy I am thinking of using help me feel less stressed in this moment (short-term) or help reduce stress later on (long-term)?
“If I choose to watch a full season of Netflix, I may feel better in the moment, but then maybe I’ll be WAY more stressed after and no more prepared for these exams. Maybe if I make a plan to study with a friend this week I can stay on track and studying would be more fun too!”
Practice Makes Better… WAY BETTER!
Well, we can’t say “practice makes perfect” (nothing and no one is perfect!), but practice does make better… way better!
Did you know that coping is actually a SKILL you can LEARN? That’s right! Coping isn’t just something you do naturally and perfectly and it helps every time to relieve your stress or fix your problems. It’s actually something that takes PRACTICE!
“Would love to share a REAL story from someone here to illustrate the point of practicing”
ACTIVITY TIME: Stress-busting Style Quiz!
To start this get-to-know-yourself process (and just for fun!), let’s play a little game to find out what YOUR go-to stress-busting style is!
What's Your Stress Busting Style?
We all experience different stressors and have different ways of coping with the tough stuff that life throws at us. So, what is YOUR go-to stress busting style?! There are lots of ways to cope with stress, but sometimes we get stuck in our ways, we feel overwhelmed, and we rely on what we know. This quiz will help you figure out how you tend to approach stress and stressful situations and help you learn more about yourself!
When it’s crunch time with a school assignment and that deadline is coming down to the wire, I’m more likely to…
When I am stressed about something I have to do, but I just CANNOT get myself to do it… You’ll likely find me…
When I’m feeling the stress build up, I bust it by…
You’re having some trouble at home - you seem to be getting into arguments with your siblings or your parents/guardians all the time! Do you….
You’ve got a big test coming up that you’re SUPER stressed about! Do you....
You got a bad grade on that test and need to tell your parent/guardian. Do you....
You have to go out to the grocery store, but when you get there you realize it’s packed full of people! You start to get a bit nervous. Do you….
You’re at home, relaxing, and decide to take a nap. When you wake up, you check your calendar and realize you accidentally slept through an online test! Do you…
You’re having a great day at school, when your teacher suddenly tells you they want you to stay after class to have a chat. Do you….
You really want to go out with your friends, but your parents/guardians say that you have to clean your room before you can go. Do you....