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Whether it’s work, family life or our own expectations of ourselves, there are things we do to handle the demands on us. Whatever these strategies are, they are our means of coping. This is what Coping With Stress is, our strategies for dealing with stressful demands on us. Stressful because they’re external factors outside of our control, or because they’re internal ones, challenging our moral compass.

5 Little Known Facts About Coping With Stress:

1. Of the stress coping options available to us, it’s quite unlikely that we’re utilising more than a few! How crazy is that? There are more, ready to be at our disposal – awareness!

2. To widen our capacity for dealing with stress (whether internal or external) we first need to be aware of the other options available, and second we need to put them into practice, and practice – proficiency.

…It’s the same with anything. It’s not enough to see someone doing a new yoga move and having seen it once think that you’ll not only remember it, but also do it proficiently the first time you try; you have to practice!

3. There aren’t ’good’ and ’bad’ methods of coping! …This one threw me a little… I can think of a few examples of ’reactions’ to stress right off that aren’t all to ’healthy’ behaviours; but I’ve come to understand that there’s a difference between the coping mechanism itself and the behaviour that we’ve associated to it.

An example of this would be the classic ’drowning your sorrows’ i.e. drinking enough alcohol to sufficiently numb yourself to the situation you’re in, and the stress you’re feeling. The coping mechanism in this behaviour is ’distancing yourself emotionally’ and – this one was a wake up call to me – there’s nothing wrong with that! There’s nothing wrong with distancing yourself emotionally as one (of many) coping mechanism(-s) and survival tool(-s) for stress or inner turmoil! There are however more and less ’healthy’/ helpful behaviours to associate with that. A few of the behaviours most commonly practiced on a daily basis are submerging ourselves in the TV, Facebook, Pinterest, or other http://.

…In terms of coping with stress, if there are coping mechanisms you feel you’ve associated with ’unhealthy’ behaviours it’s definitely worth getting proficient at other coping strategies.

4. There are two different categories of coping, problem focussed and emotionally focussed. This isn’t a girl/boy thing, or a matter of personality preference, all the strategies in both areas are effective and useful for all of us!

 

5… Coping Strategies

Problem focussed coping:

– Collect information (find out as much as you can about the actual issue/ situation)

– Problem solving (take charge of the problems that are making life difficult)

– Communication (describe what you’re experiencing and seek out advise and solutions from other people)

– Time management (list the demands on you, prioritise and set aside time to achieve them)

– Mobilise support from your network (ask for help; take advantage of the resources available to you)

– Try to change your situation/ environment or take yourself out of it

Emotionally focussed coping:

– Give yourself a break (walk away, do something different)

– Distance yourself emotionally (protect your well being)

– Express your feelings (talk it out)

– Cognitive redefinition (can you approach the situation from a different angle?)

– Relaxation techniques

 

Which strategies do you use?

 

The coping mechanisms listed above are strategies that you can learn and practice, and have at your disposal when coping with stress. One of the reasons for getting familiar and proficient with as many of them as possible is that in order to work coping needs to be situation appropriate.

– Being proficient at walking away and giving yourself a break isn’t going to help in a work setting, sitting in a meeting with your boss; but maybe a relaxation technique, lowering your shoulders, stretching up your neck, unclenching your fists, breathing, might?

– Excelling in expressing your feelings isn’t going to help if the person you’re trying to communicate with isn’t interested in hearing what you have to say; but maybe thinking through whether the situation could be viewed differently might?

– Time management is a great strategy, but if you don’t have time to resolve all of the demands on you, it’s not going to help; reaching out to someone else and asking them to help, might 🙂

– Collecting information about the development stage your child is going through might elevate some of the stresses of parenthood; prioritising taking some personal space might also help 🙂

 

 

 

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12 Comments

  1. Stress is an invisible killer, so it is important to learn how to cope with it. We can’t always avoid stressful situations, but by following some of the helpful advice in your post people can certainly reduce the amount of stress in their lives.

    I get stressed quite easily, but am fully aware of the fact and do my best to avoid situations where I know I’ll get stressed out…Collecting information and being well prepared is an excellent stress reducing strategy, I try and do that when I can.

    I also take deep breathes and a step back if I feel myself getting stressed, I find that doing this puts space between me and whatever is causing me stress – which are usually people related situations! Hugging a tree whilst being barefooted is also good one, but people tend to judge and think you’re barmy, so this one is best saved for home!

    Thanks for sharing your tips.

  2. Love this post. I’ve recently had to find some ’coping with stress strategies’. Its actually the one big reason I started my blog! I decided I needed something to take my mind away from focusing on the negative things and focus on the positives in each and every day! Its worked brilliantly! Communication was also a big one for me – learning to open up and talk! Its not always an easy obvious choice for me but it definitely helps with stress!! #brillblogposts

    • Amen to that!
      Talk talk talk – it’s SHOCKING how much we only start to realize we’re feeling, and carrying as burdens once we actually hear ourselves saying it!
      I hope you’re seeing a difference and feeling better week after week. It might be a slow journey, but there is light at the end of it <3

  3. Great post Steph… and I couldn’t have read it at a better time (when I am feeling completely stressed and overwhelmed).

    To be completely honest, I am most stressed around my period. PMS is a horrible thing for me. I get overwhelmed, anxious, and edgy. I hate it. However, that being said, because it occurs around my period, I can usually prepare for it (less commitments, more quiet time, extra cautious with eating habits, etc.). I still feel stressed but it’s more manageable.

    Also, good sleep and good eating habits are critical in order for me to keep my stress levels down.

    You provided some great insights here! Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

    • Thank you lovely!
      What a good idea, to actually consciously prepare for stressed times. I hope you get the sleep, peace and rest you need.

      We’ve got much better at communicating with our kids when we’re stressed too. Letting them know when we’re extra tired or impatient. Letting them know that we need their help today and extra love and patience <3

    • Thanks Emma! I was really happy when I found your blog… I started to think about how it was when I first moved here, so helpful to reflect over the difference of then & now, look at where I’m living with fresh eyes again… Yes, I think once you’ve lived you’re never going to be able to rub it off 😉

  4. Hi Steph, great post! The strategy I probably use the most is communication. At times, I have also found that writing down what the issue is (often at length) makes me feel at peace with it (once it is on paper, I can forget about it and lock the diary away!). Mel
    (I would like to follow you via email, but cannot find a form to fill in. Could you add me to your mailing list?)

    • More fantastic ideas! Love it… there’s a lot of ’therapy’ in saying things out loud, and writing them down… Maybe you find yourself actually ’listening’ to yourself for the first time, AND taking yourself seriously <3

      ...Thanks @lecoindemel, I'll sort out an email form pronto 🙂

  5. This is a great post. I use a variety of the methods you’ve described, depending on the situation. Keeping perspective in the face of sleep deprived adversity is usually my biggest challenge! Communicating and trying to find long term solutions to the problems in our household works best for hubby & I…

    • You’re totally right! Sleep depravation needs to be recognised for the torture it is – Most likely the primary contender to calm, easy going, level headed parenting! 😉 It’s so important as well about recognising when something is a real ’problem’ and actually dealing with that… instead of being consistently stressed by each reoccurrence.
      Thanks for commenting – You really added some valuable insights.

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