Coping

25th January 2019

I’m often very preoccupied with ideas of health and wellbeing- wanting to fiercely hammer home the importance of mental health, wanting to strive for a fulfilling life, wanting to study health psychology. But I think I need to give myself a reality check- through the periods of low mood and anxiety when nobody can help me but myself and when I need to be accountable for my wellbeing, how do I choose to cope? Do I really do what I might advise others to do? Is it an image I would want to portray if I campaigned for healthier lifestyles? Nuh-uh!

What a hypocrite!

What are my problematic habits to cope with things that negatively impact my wellbeing?

  • Comfort eat
  • Procrastinate
  • Fantasise worst case scenarios
  • Self-loathe (internally)
  • Avoid people excessively
  • Choose not to do things I know may help
  • Complain
  • Look at screens for too long

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head. For me it’s often an internalised process of negativity and self-doubt that effects the way I feel about myself and my ability to be a good asset to the world. I think maybe because I’m in a period of instability and uncertainty in all aspects of my life, I don’t think I’ve found my identity and it’s really hard trying to conduct myself in my day to day life and feel settled in myself and my circumstances.

On the other hand it’s worth noting that I do have healthy coping mechanisms. In particular, it often takes me hitting rock bottom sometimes, doing all of the things above, for me to open the floodgates and decide to do something differently to try and help myself in a more positive way.

What are positive coping mechanisms that have helped me, or activities that have had a positive impact on my wellbeing?

  • Yoga
  • Gym classes
  • Baths (with body shop bath bombs)
  • Getting outside (being around people or not, depending on my mood)
  • Sitting in a cafe
  • Reading
  • Meditating
  • Having a shower
  • Talking to someone (this is a grey area though)

So it’s not all bad, but it does seem to be the case that I will do the more positive things if I already feel okay, than when I really need those things. I’m not entirely sure why this is, although a lack of motivation and negative thoughts have something to do with it. Is it about acceptance of the fact that this is the way we are sometimes? Is there an argument for allowing for small portions of negative coping mechanisms to ease the pressure on ourselves to cope in the “right” or “healthy” way? Is it realistic to expect ourselves to always cope with difficulty in the most productive and healthy way?

Resistance is a really tough nut to crack, I wish it wasn’t and that coping healthily always felt accessible. I have come a long way generally, although in many ways I still feel really isolated, like the best parts of me are not coming to the surface and people aren’t seeing the best of me.

What are your coping mechanisms when the going gets tough?

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