Coping

It is very easy to feel overwhelmed from time to time. You have a lot of stuff to manage and juggle – what with your friends and family stuff, not to mention school, course work and exams – worrying about fitting in, having enough friends on Facebook and fancying people – it’s no wonder that you might feel a bit lost or like your head might explode.

Have you ever met those people that just seem to breeze through life – no matter what happens or what life throws at them, they simply crack on with a smile – no bother?

Well, we have this great word for those types of people, we call them resilient. It means being able to cope. Unfortunately, we don’t always teach people how to do it. It is one of those many life skills we simply expect people to be able to manage.

So how do you become more resilient?

Think of your head like a balloon. Every time you are feeling stressed or worried you blow a bit of air into your balloon, so little by little it gets bigger and bigger… until BANG! What you need is a way to let out a bit of air from time to time. Having a bit of me time lets you do that.

When it comes to dealing with stress there are lots of different ways that people choose to cope and manage their feelings. Some are healthy, (like exercise or music) and, some not so healthy (self- harming and alcohol) however, they are all equally valid and shows that the individual is trying to deal with their anxiety. Now, we are not suggesting that self-harming is a good way to deal with your stress and worries, however it is a method that some people use when they don’t have a better solution.

Furthermore, even healthy coping strategies taken too far can be dangerous – some people become obsessed with training and over-do it, but equally an odd beer with your friends can be fun and make you feel much better. It is about control and moderation.

What you need to do is find a way of getting all those thoughts out of your head in a safe way and to find a way of relaxing and chilling out by yourself.

Try and spend some time each day that is simply dedicated to you. Time you can relax, chill out and focus just on you. Some quality ME-time (and I don’t mean masturbation! – although if that is how you relax then fine!), whether it is listening to music, reading or having a hot bath, drawing, hitting the gym, going for a run, walking the dog – it doesn’t matter – as long as you have some time alone with and a chance to get your head straight. Some people find it really hard to spend time by them self but it is a great skill and habit to get into.

That being said, you don’t have to deal with everything on your own. In fact another way of letting some air out of your balloon is to talk and let off steam with your mates. And not just about the bad stuff either – have a laugh and a giggle too. When was the last time you laughed so hard you were left rolling around the floor with a stitch in your side?

We all need people around us, people who will listen and support us without judgement. People we feel we can talk to when something is bothering us.

Support networks

Do this now – grab a pen and try and think of five different people you could go to with a problem, write each name along one of your fingers until you have your five.

 Now think, who could you go to with these problems?

  •  falling out with your folks or your best friend?
  •  questions about sex?
  •  trouble at school?
  •  worried about a friend?
  •  pregnancy scare?
  •  if you were sexually assaulted?
  •  you fancy someone?

Close your fingers if they wouldn’t be able to help or they are not the right person to deal with the issue. If you don’t have at least one finger still open, perhaps you need to rethink your hand, or think about what wider services or professionals are available to help. Sometimes it is easier to talk to someone completely outside of the situation, such as a professional as they can be far more objective.

Think through some other issues of your own and who you could talk to… that way when things go wrong and you need help you will have an idea of where to go… remember asking for help is never a bad thing. You don’t have to do anything all on your own without a little support.

© Going off the Rails 2014. Adapted from ‘Playing Downstairs’ by Jonny Hunt

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