How do you cope when trying to recover from mental health challenges? Are you partying it up with loved ones? Are you moping around looking like you’ve lost your best friend? Do you try to reach out to someone for guidance? Are you coping positively or negatively? Below I have listed a few positive coping skills. Stay tuned for the negative coping skills (I prefer to not overwhelm you all)!
Explore the Outdoors
A breath of fresh air will always be a great way to cope with mental health challenges. There are countless activities or even simple things to get into cheerful spirits. You can begin slightly by taking a stroll through your neighborhood- invite a friend if you don’t want to be alone. A nature trail in a nearby park could help. Some of you may have a bicycle, go for a ride, and work out those legs!
For me, hiking or walking a nature trail is a great time to reflect on life and its challenging obstacles. I’ve always been a lover of nature (minus the annoying bugs) so that’s how hiking became one of my favorite coping tools. Some trails may seem difficult, but once you make it to the final destination with the breathtaking views, it’ll all be worth it. Try it!
Workout Your Stress
In the past, I’ve found the gym to be a wonderful place to relieve some stress. Of course, it can take a while to finally make the decision to get up and go…ehh. But once you’re there and working out it can temporarily reduce stress from your mind and body. Not only that but staying in shape helps with a clear mindset as well.
Okay, maybe you don’t want to give your local gym a visit. Exercise in the comfort of your home or a local park. It really doesn’t matter where you choose to work out, start somewhere, make it a habit, get in shape, keep a clear mindset, and thank me later! Do some kind of exercise for at least 15-30 minutes about five times a week and you’ll be better in no time.
Meditation and Yoga
Although I’m personally not a fan of yoga, it works well for others. I’ve tried it a few times and it just isn’t for me. However, I encourage others to give it an attempt because it seems to be a great source of meditation. I usually meditate by lighting a candle and putting a warmed lavender-scented eye mask over my eyes for about 15-30 minutes. You should try it, but don’t doze off and forget about your lit candle!
Another method to meditate would be practicing different deep breathing techniques- find a peaceful and calm place, focus on your breathing, and relax your mind and body. There are various breathing exercises to try, but I won’t elaborate too much. Google is your friend! Work on your breathing and you’ll be able to focus and cope more effectively.
Solve a Puzzle
The good news about puzzles is the fact that there are billions to choose from! There’s also a massive variety of genres making it possible for everyone to find one within their interest. Those varieties may include picture puzzles, word and number puzzles, coloring puzzles, mind puzzles, math puzzles, etc. I find picture puzzles to be a wonderful distraction when I’m trying to manage. Keeping busy is critical. Go out and buy yourself a new puzzle, my friend!
Crafting is life. The possibilities of projects never end so literally anyone can discover something within their capabilities. Why craft? In my opinion, it is soothing, and when I’m in my “crafting zone” it temporarily takes my mind off of my stressors. I’ve been crafting for years and have found it to aid with reducing my anxiety and depression when it isn’t too late. It’s also given me a great way to express myself and it makes me beyond happy with the finished creation so I’m forever interested in crafting.
Painting a canvas, redecorating a room in your home, sewing a favorite article of clothing that may have ripped, cutting and sanding a piece of wood into something cool, coloring a page from a coloring book, repairing anything that may have broken around your home, altering something on your car, etc., are all forms of crafting. Go craft something now and share it with me because I’d love to see it!
Write It Out
Most people going through mental health challenges tend to feel alone or as if they can’t communicate with anyone in regards to their troubles. I’ve been journaling since middle school and have found it to be the most effective way to cope. It’s like relief getting it off of your chest without directly talking to anyone. *Self-help for those who choose to go through their challenges alone.
In journals, we can be real and honest to ourselves without judgment. We can also write down our long and short-term goals, upcoming plans, etc. They’re great for expressing ourselves and venting when we need it the most. Journaling also helps us stay on track of things, tracking our progressions, and whatever else we want to record. Pick up a journal and start writing today!
Read a Good Book
There’s nothing like reading a good book. I find self-help and awareness books to be informative, but if you aren’t willing to apply it to your lifestyle- why bother? Just like puzzles, books are offered with a variety of genres and choices. There is literally a wide selection of books for everyone. Literally. We have to make our availability more open for reading and improvement.
Create a Vision Board
Vision boards are rather cool to me. Although I’ve never made one, they seem to be a great motivational tool for those who need it as guidance. From what I can gather, they allow people to stay on track within their life purposes, objectives, and dreams. I’m sure creating them is amusing, but they just aren’t my “thing”, and I’m okay with that. I highly encourage anyone who creates a vision board to aim for their highest goal because I truly believe, we can do anything we put our minds to. With the consistency of course!
Host a Game Night
I have a friend who hosts a couple of game nights from time to time and I’m beyond grateful for her. I could be at my lowest and still attend game night to get a feel of relief and hope. The company of others being around somewhat ensures you are not alone. Yes, there are nights when I prefer to watch everyone play and watch from a distance- there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s literally the presence of others for me.
Get out of bed, clean up, and host a fun game night with your loved ones. If you prefer to get out of the house, go enjoy a game night elsewhere. Even if it’s at a local restaurant for Trivia night- go out and participate! Of course, I know it’s easier said than done, but it is still feasible. We all have to start somewhere!
How do I entertain myself CC? Easy. Turn on one of your favorite upbeat and positive songs and dance or sing your heart out. It’s that simple! Sing to the top of your lungs and try to hit the notes you’d never try in public. Haha, I’m super guilty of this but fortunately, there’s no shame in my game. I can’t sing nor dance and I’m pleased with that so maybe that’s why I have no shame. Who knows? Music is a great outlet to relieve stress or our unwanted mental health symptoms.
Entertainment could also mean playing one of your favorite video games, attending a concert (if you aren’t in a deep depression), visiting a carnival or festival, watching a movie or show, and much more. Let’s not forget about those many puzzles we can choose from as well! Find some entertainment and let’s get out of this funk.
Take the Scenic Route
One of the most peaceful ways to cope is taking a well-needed drive. You don’t even need a destination! If you live in a large city, start driving along the country outskirts. Take the scenic route and your outlook of that entire town will change. You’ll be able to see so many things you never paid attention to before and it will fascinate you. If you’re anything like me (nobody can be me), you’ll enjoy the many photo-op opportunities to share or have for happiness visuals.
Gas up and head out for a fun drive!
Pick Up the Phone
A good phone chat has always felt refreshing. Especially one that made you feel better than when you initially made or received the call by the time it’s over. Phone calls give us the option to vent, express ourselves, obtain guidance or advice, reassurance, check on our loved ones, etc.
My favorite person to talk to when I’m down is my grandfather. For years I’ve reached out to him when I needed it the most. When we start our call I can either be crying or not in my usual bubbly spirits (typically when anyone knows when I’m down), and by the end of our conversation he will not hang up the phone until he hears me smiling or laughing. “Everything has a way of working itself out,” is what he usually quotes to me. Find someone that’s a call away to keep in your corner and uplift your spirits.
Clean and Reorganize
So there’s depression, and then there is cleanliness and filth associated with it. Deep depression causes some of us to completely forget about our everyday chores. Whether it’s hygiene, a junky bedroom, a sink filled with dishes, a messy bathroom, or whatever else- gather yourself and try to keep as clean as possible! A cleaner environment will for sure put us in a better mood when it comes to our mental health.
I must admit, keeping my car tidied during my mental periods is definitely a challenge. I’ll continue to work on that and you should as well! Good luck with your cleaning and organizing.
Self-care should be the best part of our mental health challenges, but unfortunately, we fall back due to our undesired challenges. Self-care can be as simple as showering or even taking a lovely bubble bath. Visit your local nail or beauty salon to get your hands, feet, or hair back together. If your finances are low or you prefer to stay in, go online to purchase the necessary instruments or visit one of your local dollar stores and pamper yourself.
Let’s not forget about facials- some of which can be achieved using regular natural household supplies. I’m thankful I was gifted with the talent to take care of all of my personal needs. Nothing like a good spa day. Always remember, when we look good, we feel good!
Of course, there are ample more ways to cope in optimistic manners. I detailed a few to give you all an idea of simple ways to cope. I can not guarantee either of these activities will help resolve your crises, but until then you should at least TRY, you’ll never know what may or may not work for you. Good luck with your positive coping skills!
Much Love Hooters,
-Cherry and the Hoot