Does life seem extra chaotic these days? Mine sure does. If you’re suffering from Disaster Whiplash, you’re not alone.
As if the pandemic, home-schooling, and political mayhem weren’t enough. Seems like life is throwing a ton of other stuff our way, too.
Deaths, illnesses, injuries, job losses, home losses. Wildfires and destroyed property and weeks of severe wildfire smoke. Don’t forget the hurricanes and floods and droughts!
Many of us seem to be getting hit by thing after thing. This is a year designed to take the strong to their knees.
That’s why today we’re examining coping strategies. With some awareness, we can create strong strategies for coping in tough times. Otherwise, we can fall into default coping strategies that actually make things worse.
First, My Coping Strategy Story…
I started thinking about coping strategies for tough times a couple of weeks ago. When my darling daughter pointed out how sad and negative I’d become.
What? Me, Miss Dana Sunshine negative? I resisted the idea for about 30 seconds before accepting that my girl was right. I had been down and negative.
My next step was to get defensive. Aren’t I allowed to be down and negative? The infamous Almeda fire in Phoenix and Talent, Oregon? That’s where we live. Buckets of grief over the destruction in our community. The losses my neighbors, friends, and we have suffered.
Then my wise girl reminded me that being sad and negative didn’t help. In fact, it was impacting everyone around me.
I realized I was wallowing in negativity; my default coping strategy. And, it wasn’t helping.
I needed a better way to cope if I were going to survive this dumpster fire of a year with my head high and heart strong.
Once I became aware of my unhelpful coping strategies, I shook things up. And it’s helped. I’m feeling, and acting, so much better.
I’m doing more exercise and meditation. Less social media. Avoiding all but the news headlines. Reading cheerier books and watching lighter shows. I’m playing my ukulele more. I’ve even taken up a new, interesting hobby.
My resilience to handle these difficult times is now strong.
The Best Coping Strategy for Tough Times
I’ve decided there are two types of coping strategies: default and intentional. Make sure you pick the right one.
A default coping strategy is the one you fall into without thinking.
An intentional coping strategy is as it sounds. More thoughtful and planned.
My default coping strategy when life got tough was negativity. To shift away from that I had to be intentional. I had to step away from what was bringing me down and step toward things that give me a boost.
Of course, if you’re grieving or depressed it’s different. Sometimes we need to be sad. We need to give ourselves permission and time to grieve and move through the emotions. In a healthy fashion.
I’m talking about if you are able to shift your emotions.
What Are Your Coping Strategies?
So, I’m curious. What are your coping strategies for difficult times?
Are you in default mode? Is it helping or making things worse?
How can you adjust your coping strategies to support you better?
If we’ve learned anything this year, it’s that you can’t escape chaos. It’s quite possible that stuff is going to keep on coming.
BUT if you stop now, assess your current coping strategies and put in place intentional, healthy ones, you will be better able to handle whatever else this crazy year is going to bring!
(And not that I’m counting, but there are 77 days until January 1, 2021. We are almost there!)
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