One of the realities of being an adult is that life will get more stressful. Coping skills are tools that can help us feel better equipped to manage our stress no matter where it is coming from.
As a busy person in this modern life, you probably do not have much time for lengthy introductions, so here are 16 coping skills for busy people.
1) Wash your face with cold water. Exposure to cold has been shown to have several health benefits. When stress knocks on our door, splashing your face with cold water is a great way to refresh the mind and body.
2) Listen to a power song. There are so many iconic songs that can get us out of a negative head space. Think of the effects of Eye of the Tiger by Survivor and When You Believe by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. There is a power song out there just for you that will help you regain strength.
3) Do a 3-minute breathing exercise. We all have 3 minutes to spare before or after doing some busy-people activity. I find it easiest to integrate this coping skill when I'm in my car right before coming back home. You just have to close your eyes and pay attention to your breath for 3 minutes to feel more at ease.
4) Take a short mindful walk. For this one, you can go outside or stay in. The goal is to get your body moving and disconnect from whatever you're doing to come back to it with a greater sense of stamina.
5) Text someone special. Strengthening your social support when you're feeling stressed is a great way to be less of a victim to the chaotic nature of our lives.
6) Use aromatherapy. For this one, you can find a lotion, candle, or diffuser. Make sure it has an uplifting or calming scent like citrus and eucalyptus and just take some time to appreciate it.
7) Say a prayer. Having communication with a Higher Power is a wonderful way to surrender control and flow more with life. It can be as simple as saying "Higher Power, God, I need you for me to feel more at ease."
8) Use positive affirmations. There are many positive affirmation cards out there that can put a stop to negative thinking and allow us to feel more collected. One that I often resort to is "I don't need to solve this all today. I just need to be brave, cling to hope, and do the next right thing."
9) Write a small list of joyful moments. Having a safe and trustworthy place to write down joyful moments is another way to reduce cortisol. You may use your smartphone or have a handy notebook that you look forward to using.
10) Do a guided meditation. Youtube and InsightTimer are just some free and reliable resources to tap into your mindful side. Search for guided meditations depending on how much time you have for this refreshing aspect of self-care.
11) Read 2 pages of a book. You don't need to read a whole chapter of a book to feel a little wiser. Reading only 2 pages makes a difference in our perceived ability to regulate stress. Try out Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience and you won't be disappointed after reading 2 pages.
12) Look at pictures. Go through your phone or a photo album and take some time to remember moments when you felt differently and not so stressed. It will help to keep things in perspective!
13) Drink decaffeinated beverages. Staying hydrated is part of self-care and can diminish the toll stress can take on our bodies. It's no surprise that when we're stressed we should avoid the jittery feelings of caffeine. Find your decaffeinated drink of choice and use it as needed in your busy life. (Mine is just water in a big water bottle).
14) Remember when you've overcome stress. Realizing how resilient we are is a beautiful thing. Knowing that you've overcome similarly stressful situations in the past is key to gathering the strength to overcome hardships again in the present.
15) Recognize your strengths. Your strengths follow you wherever you go! As a busy person, you might be especially good at envisioning, organizing, or maybe listening to people. Recognize what makes you good at what you do and you will increase the positive thinking that is sometimes necessary to thrive with stress.
16) Find the value in what you do. It is incredibly worthwhile to see the bigger picture. Challenge yourself a little to see how what you're doing impacts our common humanity and you will most likely get to feel more reassured.
Coping is for the moment and does not make your problems go away. However, problems can be transformed with a renewed mind and body.
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Wishing you all the best in your journey of discovery,